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CDC releases infection prevention guide for outpatient clinics

Consumer Reports News: July 13, 2011 03:59 PM

More than three-quarters of all operations in the U.S. are now done in outpatient clinics, not hospitals. But many of those clinics don’t adhere to standard infection-prevention practices. To help correct that problem, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released new guidelines meant to prevent infections in in “ambulatory” surgery centers, primary-care offices, endoscopy clinics, and pain-management clinics.

The new guide is based on existing CDC guidelines now used mostly in hospitals. The guide includes a checklist meant to prevent infections from injections, poor hygiene, and other causes. Among other recommendations, it suggests that all outpatient practices have at least one individual with specific training in infection control on staff or regularly available.

Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project, says:

Research shows that infection risks can be just as serious in outpatient surgery centers as they are in hospitals. The CDC's new guide spells out important practices that should be followed in all outpatient settings. Patients should ask questions of the surgery center staff to find out what steps they are taking to keep patients safe. A good place to start is to find out what the surgery center's infection rate is and to ask what the staff is doing to prevent infections.

Our recent report on staying safe in the hospital identified many steps that will also protect you when you are in outpatient medical clinics. And our updated hospital Ratings provides information about infection rates and other safety measures in hospitals across the country.

Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings: Minimum Expectations for Safe Care [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

Joel Keehn

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