Emory Report
November 17, 2008
Volume 61, Number 12



Emory Report homepage  

November 17
, 2008
Infection control steps protect patients, providers

John Fox is president and CEO of Emory Healthcare.

An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in mid-September referenced the rising numbers of confirmed tuberculosis (TB) cases in Georgia. In fact, Gwinnett County has moved to No. 2 in the state, sandwiched between No. 1 Fulton County and No. 3 DeKalb County.

The TB health concern is felt across the country, too. In California recently, more than 900 babies may have been exposed to a health care worker with an active case of the disease. The threat of TB among patients is very real, as is the risk and spread of communicable diseases and drug resistant germs.

At Emory Healthcare, we are working to create a safer environment for patients with scrupulous hand hygiene, more appropriate antibiotic use and annual TB screening to ensure that providers do not have active TB. Providers are encouraged to do hand hygiene so that it is visible to patients. If they don’t witness hand hygiene, patients and their families are encouraged to ask providers if they have cleansed their hands. Protecting patients, employees and providers is central to the Emory Healthcare commitment to quality.

Oct. 1 marked the start of the Emory Healthcare Annual Infection Control Training and Assessment Campaign. Our campaign theme — “Prevent the Spread, Control Infection” — will be very visible around the system until this year’s campaign ends Feb. 1, 2009. Our goal is to ensure that our providers have the latest knowledge about infection control and prevention and that they are aware of the serious consequences of non-compliance.

Infection control training and assessment is a standard that all hospitals and health care organizations are expected to meet. Many have met those standards for a number of years. Emory Healthcare is not leading the pack in this endeavor. We can do better. It is imperative that we meet and exceed the industry standards in this area.

We are all personally responsible for creating a safer environment for our patients and we depend on our providers to uphold our system standards and bring Emory Healthcare into 100 percent compliance with federal and state regulations and Emory Healthcare bylaws.

All providers working at Emory Healthcare are required to complete the Infection Control Training and Assessment by Feb. 1, 2009. It will take approximately 25 minutes to complete the Web-based module, which can be accessed from anywhere. The test can be taken an unlimited number of times within the specified time frame until passed. Support staff are available to guide providers through this process.

The Infection Control Training and Assessment is an initial and annual review and update requirement as a condition of practicing within Emory Healthcare in order to meet several mandatory regulatory requirements by which we must abide. All covered providers who do not complete the module will have current clinical privileges suspended. New medical staff applicants will not be granted clinical privileges until the training and assessment requirements are met.

I urge all Emory Healthcare providers to take the test, protect our patients and protect their privileges.
Visit www.emoryhealthcare.org/preventthespread to learn more about who is required to complete the Infection Control Training and Assessment, what the requirements are, course content, and the immunization and history information needed before accessing the Training and Assessment module.