How ASCs can improve infection control and meet CMS accreditation standards: 3 experts weigh in

During a panel discussion at the Becker's ASC 26th Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs in Chicago, three accreditation standards experts shared their thoughts on the importance of infection control and how ambulatory surgery centers can improve processes to meet accreditation standards. 

Panelists included:

• Michelle Corner, RN, director of nursing at Munster, Ind.-based Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery
• Marvella Thomas, MSN, RN, senior consultant of clinical operations at Dublin, Ohio-based Cardinal Health
• Marcy Sasso, CEO of Point Pleasant, N.J.-based Sasso Consulting

Here are the top takeaways from their discussion, lightly edited for clarity.

On improving infection control and prevention:

1. Ms. Corner: "To improve basics of infection control, like hand hygiene, try to get the staff involved. Everyone thinks they know how to wash their hands, but if a facility has 100 percent compliance, it's not really watching people. Include staff at the grassroots level — calling each other out on it, for example — to improve compliance. If the staff is involved and understand why they should do something, they're more likely to participate in some of the surveying."

2. Ms. Sasso: "People don't always know I'm there, so I immediately look at hand hygiene. No one says anything when people don't comply — nobody cares. To remind others about hand hygiene, I started a program called 'high five'. When you see a nurse who didn't practice proper hand hygiene, you say 'High five!' but take your hand away because they didn't perform proper hand hygiene."

Ms. Sasso also recommended having multiple people auditing hand hygiene and check what the monitors are, especially if perfect compliance is reported. "If you're reporting 100 percent, I can guarantee that's not accurate."

3. Ms. Thomas: "Hand hygiene is important, but almost every product used in the operating room ties back to infection prevention. Is your staff protecting themselves and patients by using the right drapes, gowns and gloves? Are they double gloving on procedures they should be? Really work with the clinical staff on site to make sure they're educated. Also, look at the sterile processing department — that's the first level of defense for infection prevention. How many SPDs really have the right resources, people and equipment to maintain that zero infection rate in their facility? Consider what resources you have, how they are used and how they support inpatient outcomes."

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