Committee formed to help health care transition to using UDIs

As the health care community continues to adopt unique device identifiers (UDI) to help track patients’ implantable medical devices, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is actively engaging with early adopters of the system to help streamline its use.

In response, the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM) has formed the Learning UDI Community (LUC) to identify issues that impact UDI adoption within the health care setting. Although LUC is not an advisory committee to the FDA, AHRMM says its aim is to develop a common understanding and approach to UDI adoption for supply chain and clinical care.

It will do so by establishing cross-functional work groups comprising subject matter experts and stakeholders, including health care leaders from AHRMM, as well as those from the clinical, distribution, financial, health IT, physician, provider, regulatory, standards organization, and supplier/manufacturing sectors.

The committee’s work groups will publish progressive practices, proposed solutions and any resources that can help to accelerate UDI adoption. These best practices and other tools will be shared through the Learning UDI Repository to shorten the UDI adoption learning curve.

CMS to hold public call to discuss new emergency preparedness rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Medical Learning Network (MLN) is hosting a public call Oct. 5 at 1:30 p.m. ET to discuss CMS’ new Emergency Preparedness Requirement.

The rule establishes national requirements for Medicare and Medicaid providers on how to plan for both natural and man-made disasters. The call will start with a discussion of the new requirements and revisions in the final rule, followed by a question-and-answer session. The call presentation will be posted at least one day in advance on the MLN website. Registration closes at noon ET the day of the call.

ASHRAE seeks comments on health care ventilation standard

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is seeking public comments on a proposed addendum that would reformat ASHRAE 170 to address outpatient spaces separately from inpatient spaces. The proposed addendum, currently in a public review period from Sept. 16 through Oct. 31, can be found on ASHRAE's public review draft standards website.

Study: Hot water system promotes growth of Legionella pneumophila

Heat exchangers installed in a Canadian hospital to conserve energy promoted growth of Legionella pneumophila in the hot water supply, according to a new study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Authors of the study say the findings call for health care facilities to examine the maintenance and operations of energy recovery devices installed on their water distribution system to help prevent Legionella growth and minimize infection risk.

Legionella can cause severe respiratory infections, such as Legionnaire’s disease, in persons with weakened immune systems.

“We were surprised to see the extent of the contamination in the heat exchangers,” said Michèle Prévost, Ph.D., principal investigator in the study. “Because these units can act as incubators for pathogens in hot water systems, the operation and maintenance of heat exchangers need to be reviewed to minimize these risks and prevent future outbreaks."

ICC seeks members for Ad Hoc Committee on Healthcare

The International Code Council is looking for new members to its Ad Hoc Committee on Healthcare. The committee was formed in cooperation with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering and develops proposed code changes, modifications and public comments as well as participates in the committee action and public comment hearings, which result in provisions for hospital and ambulatory care facilities to assure the highest level of safety in these types of facilities. 

NIST issues cybersecurity risk management tool

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released the Baldrige Cybersecurity Excellence Builder, a draft tool to help organizations assess how effectively they use the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to manage risk. According to the agency, the tool blends the organizational performance evaluation strategies of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program with the risk-management mechanisms of the Cybersecurity Framework, allowing organizations to maximize the framework’s value and manage all areas affected by cybersecurity as a unified whole. NIST will accept comments on the draft tool until Dec. 15 at

CDC builds U.S. laboratory capacity to test for Zika virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) purchased approximately $2.5 million in laboratory supplies and equipment in August to enhance U.S. laboratory capacity to test for Zika virus. These purchases help to ensure that states can meet the growing demand for testing and rapid identification of Zika infection, by providing them with materials that allow them to perform testing for the virus.

Relatively few labs in the U.S. are certified to test for Zika, which means samples are often shipped to a local health department lab for testing and sometimes to the CDC. Thus, processing and reporting time of a result may take from two to four weeks. The CDC has sent materials to 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and nine Department of Defense laboratories to help them expand lab capacity and perform testing to detect both current and recent cases of Zika virus infection.