While at the ACE Summit in New Orleans, one of the most interesting presentations came from Beth Eckl of the Practice Greenhealth organization.
Practice Greenhealth creates opportunities for discussion not only on sustainability issues, but now that sustainability actually is good business practice. They facilitate these discussions on an ongoing basis.
This was very attractive to Midbrook because our reason for existence is to encourage the proper cleaning of surgical instruments to allow for effective sterilization. Effective sterilization promotes the practice of reusable devices rather than single use devices. Anything we can continue to re-use safely and effectively, not only stays out of the land fills but also decreases the costs of providing quality care.
The key is to make sure the items are cleaned effectively or they cannnot be sterilized. If they are not sterilized then they can spread infection from patient to patient during the procedure.
Washing your hands? Really?
Whenever an article is published on fighting germs and the spread of infection in a healthcare setting, inevitably, the theme of the piece centers around proper hand hygiene. Can we all just assume that as a given?
Let’s put a little more thought into our battle with the killer superbugs like MRSA and C diff. This issue needs a little more creative innovation to test and implement some solutions.
Education and dissemination of what is available on the market now is paramount to spreading the gospel of solid infection prevention practices. The use of anti-microbial copper alloys in place of stainless steel as the material of choice whenever possible is one means of doing more than what is common now.
Identifying residual bacteria after cleaning has been performed on everything from IV poles to surgical instruments will measure what has been accomplished and encourage health care workers to continue to be diligent in their efforts.
Using UV light stations as means of destroying bacteria and spores on everything from stethoscopes, to I-Pads, to charts as they are moved from patient room to patient room.
All of these items are available today. All of them are effective, along with washing your hands.
Now the effort must be made to lobby for implementation of these new arrows for our wickets so all of so our colleagues can have the same chance at success in the battle with superbugs like MRSA.
Cold, rainy weather dampened the night life in the Big Easy, at least for us old guys, but excellent dialogue among leaders in some of the nation’s most prestigious and largest health care systems shone light on how the most progressive systems plan on surviving in the new reality of the Affordable Care Act.
A new reality because the consensus is the act will not be repealed, however, there is hope that revisions will make it livable to a greater degree.
Good news for equipment vendors is that due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act, there was a suspension in new purchases over the past few years. Now, that the landscape is somewhat clearer, there is, in the words of one Health System leader, “a significant appetite over the next 10 years” for replacement equipment.
The difference today over yesterday however is that replacement of equipment decisions will be made based on the new equipment’s ability to provide quality care and improve the overall patient experience.
With required reporting and non reimbursement for re-admissions, the focus is now two-fold: make sure no harm is done during the initial procedure (i.e. assure no hospital acquired infection is transmitted) and make decisons based on input from clinical engineering in order to develop an equipment replacement strategy with an eye toward making the overall community healthier.