Don’t Re-Use Glucometers, Fingerstick Devices and Lancets | Joint Commission
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Don’t Re-Use Glucometers, Fingerstick Devices and Lancets

Apr 10, 2017 | 1598 Views

Most Joint Commission customers know that, despite rumors, we are not prescriptive on many issues unless we have compelling information that speaks to the safety of health care consumers. 

This information will help you understand and explain to your staff why compliance on single use of glucometers, fingerstick devices and lancets is essential, especially if you provide Medicare services.  It’s not a new requirement but the issue seems to be occurring more frequently among home care providers and that is a problem for our industry.

Lancet Best Practices

The time is now to conduct your organization’s risk assessment specific to the use of glucometers, fingerstick devices, and lancets. Determine whether you are using devices intended for single patient use on multiple patients, which is not recommended as evidence-based practice or manufacturer instructions for use, and may lead to an infectious bloodborne pathogen (hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV) transmission risk to your patients.

If organizations continue to use their own equipment, they must make a supply of lancet devices available to their staff, so only one can be used per patient—not one not per test, but per patient. The lancet device can be left in the patient's home for repeat use.

Using the same lancing/fingerstick device for more than one individual, even if the lancet is changed, is also prohibited per CMS Survey and Certification Letter (Revised 10-28-16).

Fingerstick & Blood Glucose Devices

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rules differ slightly when it comes to fingerstick devices and blood glucose meters. Though infection occurs most frequently in long-term care, the risk for transmissions occurs anywhere where blood sampling is conducted via fingerstick pricks such as:

  • Assisted living or residential care facilities

  • Skilled nursing facilities

  • Clinics

  • Health fairs

  • Shelters

  • Detention facilities

  • Senior centers

  • Schools

  • Camps 

Diabetes care is an especially sensitive area, as reports of related HBV outbreaks are on the upswing.

Even though there are reusable devices on the market, the CDC is strongly encouraging single use, auto-disabling fingerstick devices. 

Whenever possible, blood glucose meters should not be shared. If they must be shared, the device should be cleaned and disinfected after every use, per manufacturer’s instructions. If the manufacturer does not specify how the device should be cleaned and disinfected, then it should not be shared.

Consequences for Device Re-Use

Episodes of re-using a lancet device on multiple patients is scorable at  PC.02.01.01 EP.2 and can be considered a very serious finding based on the circumstances. 

In a deemed survey, this will result in an automatic condition-level deficiency, per CMS's direction, hence requiring a Medicare Deficiency Survey.

We’re also required to report identified breaches of this nature to your local/state department of health. Let’s avoid this. It’s an easy practice change and not worth risking a deficiency. If you have any questions, please reach out!

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