Infection Prevention and Control

Broad subject matter expertise helps you reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), address gaps related to the sterilization of medical equipment, and improve infection prevention and control plans.

Importance of Infection Prevention and Control Strategies

Infections can cause serious illness or even death, yet half of all healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are preventable. Current healthcare challenges further highlight the essential need for comprehensive and proactive infection prevention and control (IPC) measures to ensure the safe care of patients and to protect healthcare personnel in acute care, ambulatory surgery centers, and long-term care facilities.

Worldwide, HAIs affect hundreds of millions of patients each year. HAIs are the most frequent adverse events in healthcare delivery, costing an estimated $9.8 billion annually, leaving lives, your organization's bottom line, and its reputation, at risk.

Importance of Properly Cleaning Surgical Instruments

Infection preventionists, operative-services clinical staff, and sterile-processing leaders are challenged to reduce infection risk and to ensure sterile-processing best practices are followed.

The Joint Commission emphasizes the importance of proper instrument reprocessing practices in their Quick Safety: Ensuring Critical Instruments and Devices Are Appropriate for Reuse, which states, "Organizations also must maintain reusable instruments in a condition to ensure safe and effective use. Instruments and devices in disrepair or with compromised surfaces—such as oxidation, pitting, cracking or damage from instrument marking—may not be able to be effectively sterilized. Additionally, instruments that have sustained structural damage may not function as intended."

To further emphasize this point, while conducting on-site assessments over the last six months, ECRI experts identified trends in surgical instrument processing issues such as: dirty instruments in "clean trays," inconsistent cleaning and decontamination per manufacturer’s instructions for use, and lack of training among sterile-processing technicians.

To combat this growing challenge, our sterile-processing consulting services evaluate surgical-instrument cleaning and sterilization processes, procedures, devices, and water quality across all care settings, including hospitals, surgery centers, dental clinics, and outpatient settings.

Breaches in equipment sterilization and [high-level disinfection] processes can result in outbreaks of HIV, and hepatitis B and C, as well as the transmission of bacterial infecting agents, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. coli, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), salmonella, and Clostridium sordellii.
The Joint Commission

Helping Nonacute Care Facilities Develop an Infection Prevention and Control Plan

While infection prevention is a top priority for ambulatory surgery centers and aging services facilities, resources and expertise may be limited. With ECRI's Infection Prevention and Control consulting services, you can access its breadth of knowledge to create, validate, and streamline your infection prevention plans based on your facility's unique needs and challenges. Our multidisciplinary team of certified (CIC) infection preventionists and epidemiologists will evaluate your current IPC plans, provide evidence-based recommendations, assist in action-plan implementation, and educate your staff about avoiding infections and outbreaks by following infection-prevention best practices.

Evaluation and Investigation in All Healthcare Settings

We partner with you to identify vulnerabilities, establish or enhance best practices, and leverage technology intelligently across all care settings. ECRI consultants will analyze your organization's culture, infrastructure, practices, systems, and technology to identify gaps that leave your patients, residents, and staff at risk.

Our staff of medical device engineers, epidemiologists, accident and forensics specialists, and clinicians will assist you in evaluations and investigation by conducting thorough, on-site assessments or virtual assistance. Our combined years of experience and expertise serve to help your facilities benefit from current best practices in healthcare.

Why ECRI Is Unique

ECRI's consulting services provide trusted guidance in known areas of IPC to protect your patients, residents, staff, and visitors, and to minimize the risk of potential harm. These services bring together unparalleled resources and decades of experience in infection prevention, patient safety, accident investigation, and device evaluation. We have a unique combination of subject matter experts in risk, safety, human factors engineering, infection prevention, and quality. Each expert offers decades of invaluable frontline experience, medical-device safety knowledge, and the most comprehensive adverse safety- and medication-event data. No one else offers these unique and complete solutions to help you with infection control in your healthcare facilities.

ECRI uses research-driven strategies and action-oriented plans to help you improve patient safety through infection reduction and mitigation. We tailor our consulting services to address your organization's specific issues, identify opportunities to reduce your infection risk, and provide guidance and ongoing support to enable you to make meaningful improvements quickly. We also offer many dedicated resources to help you and your staff expand your knowledge base. As CIC infection prevention consultants, we understand the importance of current, evidence-based practices to support your facility in proactive infection prevention and control assessments as well as mitigating and controlling outbreak situations.

Interested in Learning More about Infection Prevention and Control Services from ECRI?

Set up a consultation today with an ECRI expert.