AHA and CDC to help hospitals prevent infections

Infection prevention // The American Hospital Association’s (AHA’s) Health Research & Educational Trust affiliate and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced a three-year initiative to improve the implementation of infection prevention and control efforts in U.S. hospitals. The project will work with state hospital associations, state health departments, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Quality Improvement Networks, AHA’s American Society for Healthcare Engineering affiliate and other partners to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, Clostridium difficile infections and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections in targeted acute care hospitals.

EPA extends comments on pharma waste standards

Environmental services // The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently extended the comment period for its proposed Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals rule to Dec. 24. The proposal is meant to improve the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals at health care facilities (including hospitals, clinics, and retail stores with pharmacies) and reverse distributors, according to the EPA. It will provide standards to ensure that the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals is safe and workable within the health care setting, the agency adds.

FDA orders recall of endoscope reprocessors

Biomedical // The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently ordered Custom Ultrasonics to recall all of its automated endoscope reprocessors (AERs) from health care facilities, citing violations that could result in an increased risk of infection. An estimated 2,800 AERs manufactured by Custom Ultrasonics are currently in hospitals and outpatient clinics throughout the United States. Hospitals and other facilities using the reprocessors should transition as soon as possible to alternative reprocessing methods that are compatible with their flexible endoscopes, and report any infections that may be related to the recalled reprocessors to the company and the FDA MedWatch program, the agency states.

HHS redesigns radiation emergency website

Emergency management // Health & Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and National Library of Medicine have redesigned their website on Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM). The new site adds behavioral health resources and material for first responders, senior health care leaders, veterinarians and public information officers. Users also can download most of the information ahead of time, in case the Internet is not available in an emergency, or access it on a smartphone app called Mobile REMM.

OR traffic interferes with airflow, study says

Engineering // A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University analyzing foot traffic in and out of operating rooms (ORs) during 200 knee and hip arthroplasty surgeries found enough door openings in nearly one-third of the procedures to potentially defeat the safety effects of positive pressure systems meant to keep germ-contaminated air out of sterile ORs. Excessive OR traffic, the researchers say, is believed to be a common occurrence not unique to Johns Hopkins, and previous studies have documented frequent OR door openings during cardiac surgeries performed elsewhere.