Author – Joseph Perz, DrPH, MA
Prevention Team Leader for the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
You might be thinking, “Is a knowledge refresher on injection safety really needed? Providers all know how to give safe injections!” Sadly, this is not the case. We at CDC have seen outbreak after outbreak related to providers not following safe injection practice standards as outlined in CDC guidelines. We also see patient notifications that inform patients that they “may have been exposed – please be tested.” Failures in basic patient protections that we see include the reuse of syringes or needles; the reuse of single-dose/single-use vials; and mishandling of multi-dose/multi-use vials. With every outbreak or patient notification event that has occurred over the past 10 years, we have wondered how many other infections and exposures are slipping by, unnoticed.
The CDC and the Safe Injection Practices Coalition have released a safe injection toolkit geared specifically for busy medical practices. This free toolkit features a Power Point presentation with recorded audio, convenient for use during staff meetings, in-services, and other educational seminars. Other pieces include a no-cost Medscape CME activity, a safe injection practices training video, and a number of eye-catching posters to remind staff about the basics of injection safety.
The toolkit also gives providers access to all of the education and training materials of the SIPC’s One & Only Campaign. All of the materials come with suggested uses. For example, the injection safety checklist is designed to help with routine reviews of your clinical team’s practices, to ensure that your patients always receive safe care. Additionally, all staff involved in preparing or giving injections could be required to view the Medscape CME or safe injection practices video annually. With this information, all healthcare providers can refresh their injection safety knowledge and contribute to keeping their patients safe from unnecessary harm.
The bottom line is this: unsafe injection practices place patients at unnecessary risk for exposures to hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV and assorted bacterial infections. We urge all healthcare providers to take this information and share it with your colleagues. Remember, injection safety is every provider’s responsibility.