Megan Stacy, RDMS
Clinical Applications Specialist, Nanosonics
Megan Stacy, RDMS, joined the Nanosonics Medical Affairs team in December 2019 as a Clinical Applications Specialist. Her background as a sonographer gives her valuable insight into the most common workflows for ultrasound procedures and reprocessing methods.
Her clinical expertise when conducting site assessments helps support healthcare facilities to examine their ultrasound processes with the goal to “protect your patients, and protect yourselves.”
Greater Visibility into Processes Leads to Standardization
“When I schedule a site assessment with Infection Preventionists, they’ll often join me for observation as we visit each department that utilizes ultrasound. This can be an eye-opening experience as the IP is not always able to visit each department every day to see how processes are being implemented.
We collect data as we walk through. If there is anything we observe that critically impacts patient safety, we’ll address it on the spot – otherwise the data will be put together in an executive report and it’s up to the facility to make decisions or implement any changes.”
The site assessment helps prepare the facility for TJC surveys, but is also a great tool for the IP to standardize processes across the entire facility.
“Standardization is the most common change that I’ve seen implemented as a result of a Site Assessment. Once I submit an executive summary report, almost every IP makes the decision to standardize their reprocessing procedures across all departments. Facility-wide standardization is important as it helps mitigate the risk of errors in patient care, and is an easy way to demonstrate compliance during a TJC survey.”
Site Assessments provide a great opportunity for education where gaps might currently exist. These gaps oftentimes occur when users do not fully understand the risks involved with improper probe reprocessing.
“When we get the chance to interact with technicians at the facility, there is opportunity to discuss the ‘why’ behind the report’s findings. ”
Some of the most common areas addressed include:
- Incomplete (or non-existent) log books. “I recently visited a facility that didn’t have any logbooks. This would be problematic should an outbreak occur as there would be no way to reliably link an infection source to those exposed. Documentation and traceability are also some of the biggest things surveyors look for when auditing a facility.”
- Improper probe storage. “It may be that probes are properly reprocessed, but if that probe is left uncovered, it won’t stay high level disinfected as it’s exposed to everything else in the room.”
- Lack of standardization. “Sometimes, each department in a facility has its own workflow for ultrasound and probe reprocessing. In this scenario, if a tech is preparing to use equipment, they’re less confident it has been properly sterilized or disinfected prior to use. When a facility has standardized their procedures, they can rest easier knowing that each of their patients are consistently being kept safe from the risk of cross-contamination.”