Surgical Urology Is an Untapped Area for Infection Preventionists


Despite the initial reluctance for a urology team to work with infection preventionists, the collaboration is beneficial for both specialties.

Infection preventionists (IPs) are not required to report surgical site infections (SSIs) from urology procedures, and yet, urology is a largely untapped source of information for IPs and vice versa. However, the urologist team are sometimes reluctant to work with IPs because they see IPs as punitive auditors and do not want to partner with them even though these medical specialties' work so often overlaps. Two medical professionals are trying to change this point of view.

To get more clarity on the situation, Infection Control Today® (ICT®) spoke with Jill Holdsworth, MS, CIC, FAPIC, CRCST, NREMT; manager, infection prevention, Emory University Hospital Midtown in Peachtree Corners, Georgia; and C. Adam Lorentz, MD, FACS, assistant professor of urology, Emory University School of Medicine, Decatur, Georgia, at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) 2022 Annual Conference, held June 13-15, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Holdsworth and Lorentz discussed their presentation titled, “Integrating Urology into Your Infection Prevention Program.”

“Urology procedures aren't something that are required reporting service line for surgical site infections (SSIs)…[so] it's a new territory for us,” Holdsworth said to ICT®. “So we're exploring a lot of different things in the surgical world of urology because we haven't done that yet. What we are doing is bringing in urology to all of the current quality initiatives that we already have in the operating room (OR) and looking at all of the different things that overlap, which has been an interesting exercise. All of the high-risk scopes that they use, they overlap into some of the colon procedures. There's a lot of things that are…overlapping into the things that are required for us that we never really looked into before. It's really an untapped potential area for us in infection prevention.”

However, how the urology team can assist IPs goes even further. Lorentz explains, “There are a lot of areas where urologists have overlap…we do a lot of high risk procedures [where urologists] have used high risk instrumentation in terms of need for subject matter expertise from the infection preventionists and terms of processing, and all these other things that the average urologist doesn't think about in the infection preventionists’ role and how they can really leverage what they're already doing and other areas to improve on their outcomes.”

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