This is according to The Joint Commission's annual summary of the Top 10 Challenging Standards for its ambulatory care program.
The infection control standard is IC.02.02.01 (The organization reduces the risk of infections associated with medical equipment, devices, and supplies.). Fifty-three percent of organizations received Requirements for Improvement for the standard, based on Joint Commission accreditation surveys and certification reviews from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016.
This standard, in particular, has gained increased attention in both the ambulatory and inpatient setting over the course of the past few years. During this time, medical device reprocessing was identified as an issue after failures in reprocessing duodenoscopes resulted in fatal infections. The elements of performance for IC.02.02.01 include "cleaning and performing low-level disinfection of medical equipment, devices and supplies (such as stethoscopes and blood glucose meters)." They also include "performing intermediate and high-level disinfection and sterilization of medical equipment, devices and supplies (for semi-critical and critical items)." Disposing and storage of equipment, devices and supplies as well as single-use device reprocessing is also addressed.
The Joint Commission holds ambulatory care settings to the same standards as inpatient/acute care settings as it relates to standard IC.02.02.01. Facilities that are accredited can expect surveyors to closely scrutinize related practices.
Joining the infection control standard in the top three were human resources standard HR.02.01.03 (The organization grants initial, renewed, or revised clinical privileges to individuals who are permitted by law and the organization to practice independently.) and environment of care standard EC.02.03.05 (The organization maintains fire safety equipment and fire safety building features).
For assistance with Joint Commission survey preparation, contact the infection control experts at Infection Control Consulting Services by clicking here.