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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Joint Commission will not enforce postoperative one-year follow-up for implantable devices

In a move to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Joint Commission will not cite organizations for failing to follow postoperative patients with implantable devices for one year as part of surveillance for surgical site infections (SSIs).

Calling it a “moratorium” pending additional review of the data, the Joint Commission made the move to keep its patient safety goal on SSIs in line with recommendations by the CDC. Rather than one year of surveillance for all procedures in which devices/materials have been implanted during a surgery, the CDC now requires surveillance for 90 days after specific National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) operative procedures. Analysis of the CDC’s NHSN surgical site infection data revealed that the majority (greater than 85% for most procedure types) of SSIs are detected within either 30 or 90 days post-procedure, depending on the type of surgery. In addition, the 30-day surveillance period limit being used for most surgical procedures is consistent with current federal reporting mandates.

The provision on surveillance for implanted devices is an element of performance of the current Joint Comission National Patient Safety Goal NPSG.07.05.01 on SSIs. It requires hospitals, critical access hospitals, ambulatory care organizations and office based surgery practices to follow-up for 30 days for surgical procedures that do not involve inserting implantable devices. The latter were to be followed for one year, but that measure will currently not be enforced. Though the one year surveillance on implanted devices will not be cited, the Joint Commission still requires organizations to measure SSIs rates for the first 30 days following procedures that do not involve inserting implantable devices. The Joint Commission will announce its final decision on the matter in a future issue of its Perspectives publication.