Device reprocessing policies should be a living document

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By defining policies and procedures for ultrasound probes, especially surface probes, reprocessing must be highly reliable and sustainable. How infection control (IP) specialists are engaged in the design of policies and procedures is critical for them to be standardized, used, referenced, and implemented.

Infection control today® (TIC®) spoke with Katharine J Hoffman, MPH, CIC, infection preventionist, JPS Health Network, Fort Worth, Texas; and Lisa Waldowski, DNP, RN, CIC, regional director of infection prevention and control, Kaiser Permanente, the 2022 annual conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), held from 13 through June 15, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Hoffman and Waldowski discussed Waldowski’s presentation: “Strategies to inform device reprocessing policy towards patient safety”.

“Typically, policies and procedures are developed with key stakeholders involved in clinicians, infection prevention and control (IPC) for ultrasound probes,” Waldowski said. “It could also be the ultrasound service as to ownership of a policy and procedure with IPC being part of that review process.”

Waldowski continues, “I think it’s important for infection prevention to understand this hierarchy of what needs to be included. And it also strongly supports when there are challenges and opportunities with frontline staff or other key stakeholders to figure out the why,” Waldowski said. “And what is in the online regulations. What is it in the accreditation standards, in the manufacturer’s instructions for use, and in the evidence-based guidelines that have all come together to support this policy and procedure to support a practice and a safe and highly reliable process. So I think the knowledge and understanding and then the ability to connect the dots to implement such a document is very important. And the acknowledgment of that with an infection preventionist coming into that job. They need this first and foremost because it’s a difficult area where many practitioners use these probes in different ways, and they don’t realize what they don’t know. So much more than just an IP address saying “Do this” is needed. So this basic information and supporting documentation will help you succeed.

Hoffman agrees: “Standardization is key, having been stakeholders and allowing everyone around the table to sit down and talk about this process together. [in a] roundtable and get everyone’s thoughts and considerations in advance, so you can move together in the right direction. »

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