There are not that many studies out there now on the safety in doctor's offices. However, there should be. Since more and more treatment is being performed in doctor's offices these days and there is less reason to go to the hospital, stricter guidelines and precautions need to be enforced in these settings to help keep the patients safe.
The CDC was so concerned that they have now come out with guidelines for doctor's offices and infection control. These were created after numerous infection-spreading problems were uncovered and reported in the past few years.
Unfortunately, doctor's office and surgery centers have gotten busier and in effort to either save costs, or because of how busy they are, proper sterilization policies have not been followed. In some cases, one time use items are being used more than once! Instruments and surfaces are not being cleaned and sterilized as called for. These are just a few examples of how you can be exposed to unsafe practices in these environments.
Even in the ever popular growing "Urgent Care" facilities, staff can't keep up with the amount of people coming through their doors each day. This unfortunately leads to treatment rooms and surfaces NOT being cleaned and sterilized properly between patients to physicians and medical staff NOT washing their hands thoroughly from patient to patient!
It is concerning that these guidelines needed to be issued at all and that many of these things were not, already, common practice.
Keep in mind that these are just SUGGESTED guidelines and no penalties are enforced if they are not followed as no one is monitoring each doctor's office, surgery center, or urgent care environment.
So this once again reinforces, how we the patients, need to be vigilant in caring for our own safety.
- Be sure any treatment room you go in is clean! If it does not appear so, ask to be moved to one that has been cleaned and sterilized.
- Be sure all instruments, tools, appear packaged and unused and/or sterilized. Ask the staff if you have any questions or concerns.
- ASK the doctor, nurse, or medical assistant to WASH their hands if you did not see them do so and they are going to touch you.
- Be sure medical staff is wearing gloves and masks when appropriate.
- Limit the surfaces you touch when in the offices, such as counter tops, arms on chairs, handles on doors and cabinets, and pens/pencils.
- Use hand sanitizer before and after you enter the offices.
No one care more about you - THAN YOU!! So speak up when you need to and protect your health! Some things that are passed on are not simple colds or flus and could be very dangerous to your health and not easy to get rid of!