Let’s Not Complicate Surgery with Infections

At Gastrointestinal Associates, we take infection control measures very seriously. We are so committed to this, in fact, that we have never experienced a single infection in our centers as a result of an endoscopic procedure since we began the very first gastrointestinal ambulatory surgery center in 1986. That is a remarkable record, and we are quite proud of it.

Nonetheless, we have already taken action on a number of fronts to further improve quality across our system based on newly introduced infection control practices. Data from a 2008 pilot study by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published in the June 9, 2010, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) highlights a small number of ambulatory surgery centers (68 out of 5,200) that were not compliant with the new guidelines.

The JAMA study in question does have some shortcomings, not the least of which is the failure to document any actual infections. The study focuses on process deficiencies, not outcomes. The study also does not provide comparative data with hospitals. However, GIA generally applauds the efforts of regulators to improve clinical quality.

The study brings to light our goal to achieve 100 percent compliance with infection control measures throughout every procedure, every day. We absolutely agree with the need for continuous improvement in infection control, and are working hard to achieve it.

What it means for patients who have a procedure in our Ambulatory Surgery Centers is that they can rest assured that we are doing our best to comply with all infection control guidelines. The fact that we have never experienced a procedure-related infection in 24 years speaks loudly and clearly about our efforts.