Leading infectious disease expert calls for tighter disinfection methods for non-surgical walk-in clinics and diagnostic facilities.
HEATHROW, FL With the proliferation of “doc-in-box” medical clinics and other outpatient healthcare and diagnostic centers throughout the U. S., the potential for outbreaks of infectious diseases, including drug-resistant “super bugs” in these centers is also increasing. This, according to Marlene Linders, an internationally-recognized expert on the monitoring and control of dangerous pathogens in hospitals and other public places, and president of Philders Group, International (www.phildersgroup.net), a healthcare consulting/business development firm headquartered in Heathrow, Florida.
“Hospitals and other large healthcare institutions are recognizing the critical importance of keeping their facilities as clean and germ-free as possible,” Linders said, “but the growth of neighborhood out-patient centers and walk-in clinics is creating new challenges of cleanliness and germ suppression for the owners and staffs of these facilities.” Linders said Philders Group has just completed a “high level audit” of a diagnostic center in South Florida in alliance with Golder & Associates, a global environmental health and safety company that represents the diagnostic center’s owner, a national health insurer. The pilot audit was to done, Linders said, to determine whether or not the center would meet federal guidelines and compliance requirements set by the Affordable Care Act.
“We examined a number of areas in the center – ordinary places personnel not trained to hospital standards might overlook – and discovered concerns; discrepancies in everything from lack of training programs and policy for infection control, pest management, lack of policy for crucial areas such as environmental services, disaster recovery, water management and exposure plans,” Linders said.
One innocent-looking object that caught the auditors’ attention was a curved, no-touch electronic faucet. The “green-energy”, low flow faucet was a breeding ground, Linders noted, for a particularly virulent germ called Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. “Without a regular preventive maintenance program in place that is tracked and monitored, these types of nuanced problems can frequently cause serious outbreaks that are preventable,” Linders said.
“The disinfection problems the center had could be corrected with more stringent training standards,” Linders explained. “As the number of out-patient centers continues to grow, better
sanitation protocols are going to have to become the absolute norm.”
Linders expects Philders Group to be doing more audits like the one for Golder, and in fact, the president said her firm was developing a separate division to provide investigative audits and infectious disease counseling for the growing out-patient and walk-in clinic market.
About Philders Group, Intl. – Philders Group, International (www.phildersgroup.net) is a healthcare consulting/business development firm which serves the healthcare building industry, focusing on two key areas of reducing risk and managing liability for infection control, as well as forecasting future profit areas for clients who want to increase their footprint in the US medical market. Headquartered in Heathrow, Florida, Philders Group provides specialized services to a global clientele, including online compliance training and infectious disease control investigation, counsel and testimony. The company is internationally recognized for its educational component, The Linders Health Institute.
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