The Joint Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are in the final year of project ADOPT Guidance, a three-year initiative aimed at improving infection prevention in outpatient settings.

Project ADOPT, which stands for Adaptation and Dissemination of Outpatient Prevention, brought together 12 professional medical organizations that have a focus on outpatient settings, as well as 11 ambulatory health care systems to develop and disseminate free infection-prevention and control resources.

Beth Ann Longo, DrPH, R.N., associate director, department of research, division of health care quality evaluation at The Joint Commission, says the initiative is guided by two goals: Expand the reach, uptake and adoption of current CDC infection-prevention and control guidelines and materials; and develop adapted guides tailored for selected ambulatory specialty settings.

As the project enters its final phases, The Joint Commission released two resources this fall. One of the guides focuses on podiatry settings and the other was developed for orthopedic and pain-management facilities. The Joint Commission says the resources address a growing need to ensure safety in ambulatory care settings.

“A majority of health care delivery has been transitioning from acute-inpatient settings to outpatient settings,” Longo says. “There is a growing need to address outbreak and patient-notification events related to lapses in outpatient settings.”

The resources offer guidance on such topics as environmental cleaning and disinfection, conducting a facility risk assessment, hand hygiene, education and training, and working with administrators to acquire infection-prevention resources. The guides also address clinical best practices related to safe injection, medication storage and health care personnel safety.

The Joint Commission’s collaboration with its project partners has involved reviewing infection-prevention and control materials, and conducting in-depth interviews and on-site visits to learn about the unique challenges of outpatient settings. Longo says the focus now has transitioned to widespread dissemination and promotion of these new guides.

“Many of our participating organizations have already made substantial improvements to their infection-prevention and control policies and procedures, staff training and ongoing monitoring,” Longo says. “We will continue to work with the CDC and partners to promote the use of these materials beyond the end of the contract period.”