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Keeping the patient safety community connected

Running virtually in 2020, the theme of Patient Safety was ‘Embracing the new normal – repositioning patient safety in the era of COVID-19’

Patient Safety, organised by Informa Markets, is the only congress in the region that integrates multiple disciplines relating to patient safety, healthcare epidemiology, public health, risk management and infection control and prevention. Running virtually, the theme of the event is ‘Embracing the new normal – repositioning patient safety in the era of COVID-19’. The event aims to connect healthcare leaders and practitioners worldwide while sharing best practice and driving patient safety in the new normal.

Patient Safety Officers, Infection Preventionists, Infection Control Managers, Infectious Disease Consultants, CSSD Technicians, and Nurses from across the globe will be tuning in to stay up-to-date on relevant topics impacting patient safety, decontamination and infection control.

Taking place from 5 to 7 November 2020, the event will provide attendees with the opportunity to do business remotely and network with global suppliers such as Advanced Sterilization Products (ASP), BD, Kiwi Medical Supplies, Steelco, and Al Fahim Healthcare Solutions to name a few. Plus, attendees can earn up to 30 CME credits from 24 webinars. All the conference sessions are built to suit global time zones, which allows attendees to tune in live or rewind back with on-demand webinars.

One such session was led by M. Robert De Jong, RDMS, RVT, FAIUM, FSDMS. Owner & Independent Consultant, Bob DeJong, LLC, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S., on Thursday, 5 November. He discussed the ‘Importance of high-level disinfection for ultrasound probe’.

In an interview with Omnia Health Magazine, he gives a sneak peek into his talk. He shared: “The main focus of my talk is going to be on high-level disinfection in ultrasound. A lot is coming to light about how ultrasound transducers have different pathogens on them and how we’re potentially causing our patients to get infected. There are a couple of articles that have already shown issues with ultrasound contaminating patients, and the research is still ongoing. We still have a long way to go to understand how ultrasound could potentially be causing harm to patients.”

Disinfection is key

De Jong stresses that one of the tenets of patient safety is making sure all of the equipment is properly disinfected. “Unfortunately, in some instances, people rush and don’t do the disinfection process thoroughly,” he said. “That leaves our next patient open to getting infected. As healthcare workers, we have to make sure we’re protecting ourselves and our patients, by washing our hands properly. I think if we had taken the disinfection process more seriously, then COVID-19 might not have spread as quickly. We need to take a step back and say, I know it takes extra time, but we have to do that to protect our patients, ourselves and our families.”

When it comes to disinfecting ultrasound equipment, he highlighted that when scanning through intact skin and if the patient doesn’t have a surgical post-op wound or open sores, low-level disinfection can be done. However, if the transducer touches body fluids or mucous membranes, then high-level disinfection would need to be carried out even if a transducer cover was used.

“I am a firm believer that all transducers whenever possible should receive high-level disinfection because this stuff lasts for weeks on surfaces. We can’t continue to wipe the transducer with a cloth thinking we did a good job, when, in fact, we didn’t follow the instructions properly,” De Jong emphasised.

Robert De Jong

When asked if technology could help in making ultrasound safer, he shared the example of a device available in the market today that uses sophisticated hydrogen peroxide to disinfect. It allows you to put the transducer into a cabinet, press the button and seven minutes later you’ve got a high-level disinfected transducer. The important thing about this device is that it also disinfects the handle, which can be contaminated and is often neglected.

He concluded: “I think the ultrasound community needs to start taking disinfection more seriously. There are still some factions that don’t believe they are infecting their patients and are still doing low-level disinfection when they ideally should be carrying out high-level disinfection.”

Other key topics that were discussed at Patient Safety 2020 include the expedited role of high technology and AI in patient safety; lean management practices in CSSD; and blockchain technology for patient safety, among others.

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