Infection Control Lapses Common in Surgical Centers

Improper use of single-dose vials, blood glucose monitoring equipment are common errors
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Two-thirds of Medicare-participating ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) have at least one lapse in their infection control practices, and a substantial number have three or more lapses, according to research published in the June 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Melissa K. Schaefer, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a survey of a sample of ASCs in three states participating in Medicare to assess their infection control practices. Using an audit tool, surveyors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services assessed compliance with five specific infection control practices in 68 ASCs. The main outcome measured was the proportion of the ASCs with lapses in each of the infection control categories.

At least one lapse in infection control practices was found in 67.6 percent of the ASCs, and three or more lapses were found in 17.6 percent. The researchers found that the most common errors made by the ASCs included using single dose medication vials for more than one patient (28.1 percent), improper reprocessing of equipment (28.4 percent), and poor handling of blood glucose monitoring equipment (46.3 percent).

"Facilities should review the audit tool and evidence-based guidelines to ensure that their policies reflect best practices and that their staff understand and follow the procedures outlined in their written policies," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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