Preventing Cross-Contamination During COVID-19: What Your Practice Can Do

Cross-contamination continues to be a legitimate concern for gynecologists, especially during the global pandemic COVID-19. Cross-contamination can compromise the safety of a medical practice by spreading through a number of different routes, including physical contact, airborne spread, respiratory droplet transmission, or physical objects. Preventing cross-contamination within a gynecology office should be priority when the health and safety of staff members and patients are at risk. Thankfully, there are key tools available that can aid medical practices in the fight against cross-contamination.

Telehealth

Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, has become a popular alternative to in-person patient visits. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “telehealth refers to the technology-enhanced health care framework that includes services such as virtual visits, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health care.” Essentially, telehealth eliminates unnecessary in-person contact and crowding at a medical office. This form of telecommunication has proved to be a reliable tool for patients seeking medical assistance without needing immediate physical attention. Overall, telehealth can decrease the risk of outside contamination within the medical office.

Standard Sanitation

Standardized sanitation practices are, without a doubt, expected to be practiced daily by the staff and ownership of any medical facility. Maintaining a sterile environment ensures the safety of each physician, staff member, and patient. This includes the general sanitation of public and private areas and the sterilization of reusable medical devices.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Healthcare personnel should perform most cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing of patient-care supplies in a central processing department in order to more easily control quality. The aim of central processing is the orderly processing of medical and surgical instruments to protect patients from infections while minimizing risks to staff and preserving the value of the items being reprocessed.” Additionally, the CDC says general healthcare facilities are expected to promote the same level of sanitation efficiency and safety while managing other areas of the facility, including any operating rooms or waiting rooms.

Single-use Devices

Single-use medical devices significantly decrease risks of cross-contamination among patients, gynecologists, and office staff members. How does a single-use device minimize the risk of cross-contamination? When a reusable device is not cleaned properly, blood, tissue, and other contaminants can linger on the device. This causes the possible transmission of infectious diseases between patients or physicians, leading to illness or even death. A disposable medical device is intended to be used once on a single patient. If the device is recyclable, the physician can safely dispose of the device after use.

Gynecologist offices need to do everything possible to ensure the practice avoids harmful cross-contamination. To achieve that goal, medical practitioners can invest in single-use, disposable speculums. Cyalume Medical’s SpecuLume EZ is a single-use, chemiluminated vaginal speculum that is a safer alternative to reusable speculums. For more information about the fight against cross-contamination or the benefits of the SpecuLume EZ, contact Cyalume Medical.

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