CDC’s Safety Guidelines for Outpatient Settings 2011

Due to the huge increase of outpatient clinics, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a guide and checklist specifically for healthcare providers in outpatient care settings such as endoscopy clinics, surgery centers, primary care offices and pain management clinics.

“Patients deserve the same basic levels of protection in a hospital or any other healthcare setting,” Michael Bell, MD, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, said in a news release. “Failure to follow standard precautions, such as correct injection practices, cannot be tolerated. Repeated outbreaks resulting from unsafe practices, along with breaches of infection control noted in ambulatory surgical centers during inspections by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid [Services], indicate the need for better infection prevention across our entire healthcare system, including outpatient settings.”

“The Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings: Minimum Expectations for Safe Care” is based on existing, evidence-based CDC guidelines that apply to a wide range of healthcare facilities but are mostly used by hospitals. The easy-to-reference guide is accompanied by an “Infection Prevention Checklist for Outpatient Settings” and supporting materials including a new, no-cost, certified continuing medical education course.

Outpatient facilities and practices must follow these guidelines:

  • Develop and maintain infection prevention and occupational health programs.
  • Ensure that at least one individual with training in infection control is employed by or regularly available to the facility. This person should be responsible for overseeing the facility’s infection prevention program.
  • Develop written infection-prevention policies and procedures appropriate for the services provided by the facility and based upon evidence-based guidelines, regulations or standards.
  • Provide job- or task-specific infection prevention education and training to all healthcare personnel.
  • Make sure sufficient and appropriate supplies necessary for adherence to standard precautions are available.
  • Perform regular audits and competency evaluations of staff’s adherence to infection prevention practices.
  • Utilize the CDC’s infection prevention checklist for outpatient settings to assess infection control practices.
  • Adhere to local, state and federal requirements regarding HAI surveillance, reportable diseases and outbreak reporting.

To access the guide, checklist and supporting materials — including the CME course, CDC and external commentary about the guide, clinician and patient education materials, a CDC safe surgery feature and additional information — visit

Byron Webb Romero, RN, MSN

Finished BSN at Lyceum of the Philippines University, and Master of Science in Nursing Major in Adult Health Nursing at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. Currently working at Manila Doctors College of Nursing as a Team Leader for Level I and II, Lecturer for Professional Nursing Subjects, and also a Clinical Instructor.

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