Healthcare-associated infections cost U.S. hospital systems about $9.8 billion every year, according to a JAMA Internal Medicine study cited by Randy Heiser, president of Sullivan Healthcare Consulting.
With this in mind, Mr. Heiser shared six best practices for infection prevention:
1. Strict adherence to hand-hygiene protocols can prevent infections caused by Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, which are fairly common bacteria in surgery centers.
2. Practicing proper screening and patient cohorting can "lead to a decrease in incidence and prevalence of chronic infections," according to the National Institutes of Health.
3. To facilitate infection prevention, surgical staff and care providers shouldn't assume another group or person has completed surgical preparations.
4. Waiting rooms, door knobs, sinks and toilets are areas at high risk of contamination and should be disinfected accordingly.
5. Regularly auditing sterile processing departments mitigates risks to patient safety and the healthcare organization as a whole.
6. Following a vaccination schedule can minimize disease transmission to staff and patients.