Can The Joint Commission Help Eliminate Hepatitis B and C in the Next 13 Years? | Joint Commission

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Can The Joint Commission Help Eliminate Hepatitis B and C in the Next 13 Years?

Jul 28, 2017 | 2400 Views

World_Hepatitis_Day_By Lisa Waldowski,DNP,PNP,CIC
Infection Control Specialist

If you’ve been paying attention to health news, you’ve probably heard that everyone, especially Baby Boomers, should be screened for Hepatitis C.

Testing for the disease, which produces few, if any symptoms, leads to treatment and, eventually, eradication of the Hep C virus that was transmitted at its highest rates from 1960 to 1980.

This public awareness campaign part of a larger strategy to eliminate hepatitis B and C by 2030. The goal is part of the World Health Organization’s Global Strategy on Viral Hepatitis and has been adopted by 194 countries. On Friday, July 28, World Hepatitis Day is observed. Organizers reason that “every activity that addresses viral hepatitis is a step toward treating it” and encourage:

  • universal vaccination
  • blood and injection safety
  • harm reduction and treatment

The Joint Commission has promoted these activities for decades and not just on the official July 28 annual awareness day. In honor of World Hepatitis Day, let’s look back at our strongest assets in the quest to eliminate viral hepatitis.

Take 5: New Standards BoosterPak™ Now Available - High-Level Disinfection (HLD) and Sterilization
This podcast features an explanation of the BoosterPak™tool released in 2016 in response non-compliance findings related to high-level disinfection and sterilization in IC02.02.01. Users can select from modules featuring content on:

  • risk assessment
  • leadership
  • environment of care
  • high-level disinfection
  • sterilization 

Take 5: The Contagious Patient
Concerns over highly contagious diseases in hospital settings are explored in the wake of the Ebola crisis. Important elements of prevention highlighted include: 

  • ED preparedness 
  • emergency management plans
  • environment of care compliance
  • staff knowledge 
  • hazardous materials plans

Additionally, frontline providers and hospital leaders are educated on role-specific planning resources for possible infectious disease outbreaks.

Take 5: Confronting Infection Prevention and Control

Acknowledging the many, always changing, components to reducing infection, The Joint Commission regards hand hygiene and a cultural change as critical. The full breadth of the surveyor’s infection prevention and control efforts is outlined with a special emphasis on prevention. Audiences are encouraged to be proactive, rather than just mitigating bad outcomes.

Speak Up: Prevent the Spread of Infection
Designed for the general public, this animated vignette emphasizes handwashing, getting flu shots and using sick days.

Quick Safety Issue 33: Improperly sterilized or HLD equipment — a growing problem
Last spring, in light of media reports and increasing noncompliance with Infection Control (IC) 02.02.01, The Joint Commission updated its 2014 Quick Safety on improperly sterilized or high-level disinfection equipment. With 74 percent of all immediate threats to life (ITL) related to improperly sterilized or high-level disinfection equipment in 2016, there is growing concern over risk of transmission of infectious agents to patients. It’s explained thoroughly in my blog. The Quick Safety offers staff training resources and a safety action checklist.

Sentinel Event Alert Issue 52: Preventing infection from the misuse of vials
Repeatedly employing single-use/single-dose vials is associated with hep B and C transmission, and The Joint Commission has a multitude of resources aimed at curbing this misuse. Listen to or read webinar slides, download our Safe Injection Practice infographic, and review Sentinel Event 52 on the multitude of setting-specific standards relevant to the proper use of vials.

@ Home with The Joint Commission blog: Don’t Reuse Glucometers, Fingerstick Devices and Lancets 

A reminder that using glucometers, fingersticks or lancing devices on multiple patients increases exposure to blood borne pathogens.

We pledge to continue doing our part to eradicate hepatitis B and C by 2030 and hope you’ll make it your mission as well. Let’s keep up this strong momentum.


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