Webinar Discusses Requirements for a Successful Infection Prevention Program in Surgery Centers

Dotty Bollinger, chief medical operations officer at Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Fla., recently presented a free webinar titled "10 Critical Requirements of a Successful Infection Prevention Program."

"Ambulatory surgery center accreditation and CMS infection control standards are important for every ASC to know and implement," says Ms. Bollinger. "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 2 million healthcare-associated infections and 100,000 infection-related deaths each year, and most of those infections were preventable through an effective prevention program," she states.

There are currently 20 legislative bills affecting ASCs and Ms. Bollinger recommends surgery centers regularly visit the Association for Professionals in Infection Control website (www.apic.org), which breaks down the infection control legislation by state, to stay atop of changing rules and regulations. Some of this legislation includes:
• requiring infection control certification;
• mandatory hygiene reporting to the public; and
• patient consent for the use of reprocessed or recycled medical devices.

Ms. Bollinger recommended ASCs take several steps to develop an effective infection prevention program to meet current and future requirements. Her suggestions include:
• Create an infection control program with written guidelines and clearly document the leadership and governance oversight.
• Make sure the program follows nationally recognized and state recognized infection control guidelines and establishes preventative methods and procedures.
• Ensure employee participation in the infection prevention and control program through monitoring each other.
• Benchmark infection control data against similar ASCs with data available on the CDC website.
• Log all surgical site infections together and look for commonalities.

When creating an infection control program, Ms. Bollinger suggests giving the staff a measurable goal — such as reducing post-operative patient infections by 70 percent in the coming year — and conducting internal audits throughout the year.

Ms. Bollinger also discussed the importance of the sterilization process. Keep the directions booklet on-hand, she suggested, and make sure the sterilization occurs according to the manufacturers. Additionally, keep a sanitary environment at the ASC by employing specific cleaning schedules, cleaning monitors and using appropriate cleaning products.

Ms. Bollinger also spoke on the importance of compliance with safe injection practices and proper hand hygiene. Her suggestions included making sure hand hygiene products are alcohol-based and comply with regulations, and if surgeons are using electronic medical records and patients are signing on electronic pads, make sure to sanitize those as well. "We all know strict adherence to proper hand washing standards is the easiest and best way to prevent infections in the ASC," says Ms. Bollinger.

Download the Webinar presentation by clicking here (pdf). At the end of the presentation you will find additional tools and resources referenced during the webinar.

View the Webinar by clicking here (wmv). We suggest you download the video to your computer before viewing to ensure better quality. If you have problems viewing the video, which is in Windows Media Video format, you can use a program like VLC media player, free for download here.

Learn more about Laser Spine Institute.

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