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Health Team

New video aims to educate health care providers on infection control

Posted March 28

A new video aims to help state health officials stop communicable disease and other infections caused by health care provider errors.

The effort involves a rule in our state called .0206, which requires health facilities to use certain practices to ensure patient safety where invasive procedures take place. WRAL Health Team's Dr. Allen Mask is one of the doctors in the new video that educates doctors about the decades-old rules.

Health officials want doctors to have the information they need to protect their patients and their practice.

In the video, State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore said the rule was initially intended specifically to prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis B in health care settings. The rule has now been expanded, though, to cover other communicable diseases.

North Carolina is actually held up as a standard nationally, Moore said, because it has the rule that applies not just to hospitals but to anywhere where clinical care is provided. Moore says that includes any practice where needles are used.

"So, if you're giving shots, if you're drawing blood, then the .O2O6 rule applies to your office," Moore said.

The rule requires a system of infection prevention.

Practices are required to have a written infection protection policy and one person on staff who is trained in infection prevention and is administering that policy, Moore said. Those requirements are the responsibility of health care providers, but Moore said patients can help protect themselves.

"You can ask your health care provider whether they are going to use a new needle and a new syringe for all of your injections," Moore said.

Patients can also ask if any equipment in a procedure has been used by any other patient—it's not necessarily a frequent problem, but it does occur.

In 2010, a cardiology office was using saline from a multi-dose vial. That vial was accessed with a needle and syringe.

The same vial was used with several patients, and about five of them were infected with Hepatitis C.

Another problem occurred in an orthopedic clinic where unsafe injection practices led to two patients requiring multiple surgeries for bacterial knee joint infections.

Mask said not many patients ask about infection control, but his office explains record keeping, proper vaccine administration, hand washing and the use of sterile gloves, anyway.

Mask said two good questions to ask are: "Do you have a staff member who oversees infection control?" and, "Has that staff member take the required training?"

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