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Immediate Need for Healthcare Facilities to Review Procedures for Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Steril


Summary

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are alerting healthcare providers and facilities about the public health need to properly maintain, clean, and disinfect or sterilize reusable medical devices. Recent infection control lapses due to non-compliance with recommended reprocessing procedures highlight a critical gap in patient safety. Healthcare facilities (e.g., hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, clinics, and doctors’ offices) that utilize reusable medical devices are urged to immediately review current reprocessing practices at their facility to ensure they (1) are complying with all steps as directed by the device manufacturers, and (2) have in place appropriate policies and procedures that are consistent with current standards and guidelines.

Background

Recent media reports describe instances of patients being notified that they may be at increased risk for infection due to lapses in basic cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization of medical devices. These events involved failures to follow manufacturers’ reprocessing instructions for critical[1] and semi-critical[2] items and highlight the need for healthcare facilities to review policies and procedures that protect patients.