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By Marilyn P. Hanchett, RN
Editor'snote: In the February 2003 issue, ICT ran the NAPPSI Safety Device List. Thisarticle is part two of a look at how the National Alliance for the PrimaryPrevention of Sharps Related Injuries (NAPPSI) is assisting healthcareprofessionals in locating safety devices.
Since the early 1990s devices specifically designed to prevent sharps-relatedinjuries have become increasingly common in healthcare. In fact, new conceptsand emerging technology continue to increase both the type and volume of safetyproducts available. The great variety of products now makes it possible tocategorize them. The use of categories can make it faster and easier forclinicians to identify, evaluate and recommend safety product changes andadditions for their facilities.
Understanding the Categories of Sharps Injury-Prevention Devices
The two broad categories are primary and secondary prevention. Secondaryprevention devices were the first safety products available and remain vitallyimportant in most safety programs. In secondary prevention devices, the needleor other sharp object is made safer through use of a recessed needle, blunting,retraction, or resheathing. The potentially dangerous object is not removed fromuse; rather, its use is made safer through product innovation.
In recent years, product design and new technology have introduced primaryprevention devices. This category is significantly different from secondaryprevention products. Primary prevention products either eliminate the need forthe needle or sharp object completely or reduce the frequency with which thedevice must be used. For example, a surgical adhesive eliminates the use ofsuture needles in superficial closures. Catheter securement devices dramaticallyreduce the frequency with which peripheral intravenous catheters must be usedand replaced.
The combination of both primary and secondary products increases the impactand potential risk reduction of safety programs. Yet many organizations remainunaware of primary prevention devices.
The NAPPSI Safety Device List
NAPPSI is a coalition of healthcare organizations, manufactures andclinicians committed to primary prevention advocacy and education. Founded in1999, NAPPSI promotes the use of both primary and secondary devices in allsafety programs.
To help accomplish this, NAPPSI has created a comprehensive Safety DeviceList that appears on the organization's Web site at http://www.nappsi.org/safety.shtml.The list includes many of the products that were originally identified by theExposure Prevention Information Network, International Health Care Worker SafetyCenter (EPINet) at the University of Virginia. However, NAPPSI's listcategorizes the approximately 200 products and manufacturers according toprimary and secondary prevention. It is the only list of its kind to providethis categorical information. In addition, the NAPPSI Safety Device List isupdated monthly, making it the most up-to-date resource for safety productinformation.
The NAPPSI Safety Device List is available at no charge to any interestedindividual. Unlike many other web resources, NAPPSI does not require users toregister at its Web site. The list can be downloaded if a hard copy is needed.
Companies can add their devices to the NAPPSI; there is no fee for thisservice. Individuals interested in adding products should contact NAPPSIexecutive director Brad Poulos via email at email@example.com/.
The importance of NAPPSI's Safety Device List is being recognized by manyorganizations interested in healthcare safety. Among those who have added linksto the NAPPSI site are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) andthe Veterans Health Administration. Recently NAPPSI petitioned the Food and DrugAdministration (FDA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)to add links to their Web sites. If you are a member of a professionalorganization concerned about safety, check to see if your organization has addedor is planning to add a link to NAPPSI in 2003.
Tips for Using the Safety Device List
While there are endless possibilities for using the information contained inthe list and every facility must ultimately decide which devices best meet itneeds, NAPPSI has the following suggestions to get you started. Many of thesetopics are often overlooked in safety programs.
Marilyn Hanchett, RN, is director of nursing at IgG America Inc. inLinthicum, Md. and is a national speaker for NAPPSI. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org/.