Center's CEO recognized for infection control efforts

Making it a top priority wins national award

The winner of the Healthcare Administrator Award from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is the chief executive officer of an ambulatory surgery center.

David G. Daniel, FACHE, FAAMA, diplomate of healthcare administration, CEO of the Lakeland (FL) Surgical & Diagnostic Center (LSDC) was given the award for making infection prevention and control a top priority through both facilities that make up the LSDC. Daniel's efforts resulted in a four-fold reduction in already-low surgical site infections at the two facilities, which perform 19,000 cases combined annually.

Daniel set an ultimate target goal of zero infections in 2006, and the infection rate has declined to .04%. "Last year we treated over 19,000 patients and had only two infections," he said. He says his ultimate target of zero infections "is now an attainable goal."

Consider these steps Daniel took:

• Daniel appointed infection control executives at both of LSDC's two facilities.

Daniel established an infection control officer, who was a senior nurse manager, at both facilities, Daniel says. Bobbie Kendrick, RN, CNOR, CIC, OR director, completed the "grueling" process to obtain certification in infection prevention/control (CIC). The other infection control officer and a supervisor in the GI department are seeking the certification.

• Daniel formed a systemwide infection control plan.

Form an infection control committee with staff committed to preventing adverse events, Kendrick advises. "Begin writing policies and procedures to give guidance to facility staff and the practitioners who use the facility," she advises.

To determine areas which need to be addressed, conduct surveillance, Kendrick suggests. "Understand that it cannot be done overnight, that it is a process," she says. "Ask for help when needed."

A consultant with expertise in ambulatory infection control program helped evaluate the organization in detail, Daniel said. "We knew our strengths and weaknesses before we started out," he said.

There is now one infection control plan for both facilities based on an infection control manual with about 25 policies and procedures. [Same-Day Surgery has posted the center's table of contents for its infection control and manual and two of the policies with the online issue: non-clinical areas — business office and surgical hand scrub.] The plan also includes benchmarks, Daniel says.

Most of the policies and procedures are based on standards that they had been using, such as ones from the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). "Therefore, the research for those is easier," Kendrick says.

• Daniel approved funding for extensive infection prevention staff training. Staff members were supported to attend courses offered by APIC, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, and the Society of Gastroenterology Nursing.

The Lakeland Center holds a mandatory quarterly staff meeting on a Saturday morning for continuing education. Staff are paid to attend. "Part of that education and training is infection control, Daniel says.

Conduct training during facilitywide staff meetings or, if that is not feasible, during department staff meetings, Kendrick advises "We set aside 10 minutes at each meeting for infection prevention updates/activities," she says.

If a member of your staff belongs to APIC, there are numerous tools available for developing a program, Kendrick says. Another good source is the web site for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), she says.

Determine a goal for infection control and patient safety, Kendrick says. "After that is done, education is essential," she says. Centers should develop a library with reference materials, Kendrick advises.