Infusion Standards with NICA and Champion

The Critical Role of Standardization in Providing High-Quality Infusion Care

Since 1992, Champion has been collaborating with customers across the spectrum of acute care to provide chairs that are not only long-lasting and aesthetically complementary in any medical setting, but also ensure maximum comfort for patients who must receive infusion therapy and other types of treatment for hours on end.

However, high-quality care is also a product of adherence to common standards, which Champion’s treatment seating solutions support as part of our effort to deliver the best possible environment for patients.

On an episode of the Champions of Care podcast, we were joined by Katie Morgan, Director of Quality and Standards at the National Infusion Center Association (NICA), to discuss standards in place to increase patient access to affordable, high quality infusion care.


The Need for Common Standards for Infusion Therapy

NICA works to get the nation’s most vulnerable citizens access to the high-quality care they need in a safe and economical community-based care setting, and upon joining the organization, Morgan was surprised to find few standards surrounding infusion therapy.

Standards in medical practice not only protect and guide patient care, but also protect the industry as a whole. When there are no standards in place, it’s much harder to identify substandard care and separate that from the excellent care that most infusion providers try to deliver.

“If there’s no clearly defined criteria for what is OK or is not OK, then it’s much harder to really definitively know when care that was provided has deviated and failed to meet that mark, so it’s harder to protect the integrity of the industry and say these are valid, high quality care settings because they followed these rules,” Morgan said.


The Impact Standards Have on Patients and Providers

If a practice setting is not focused on quality—via training, support and resources—and isn’t engaged in quality assessment and continuous quality improvement efforts, healthcare workers will sooner or later experience burnout, which results in them leaving and seeking employment in settings that align more fully with their goals of taking excellent care of patients.

But there’s a domino effect—patients today pay attention to the care they’re receiving, as well. They’re not just passive members of their healthcare journey, and they take notice when a healthcare provider is only doing the bare minimum to get patients in and out the door.

Standards, then, can provide peace of mind for patients, better working environments for providers, and, most importantly, positive outcomes. These goals tie directly into our premium medical seating at Champion, which adds to these standards and other key initiatives to help craft a positive, holistic care environment.


Infusion Therapy Standards Move Forward

Because infusion therapy is a unique vertical in healthcare, many areas existed where there was no consensus or controversy in standards—there was simply no information available.

NICA and other professionals went through a comprehensive and iterative process to define true standards of care, not just standards of practice. By looking at validated, existing standards in similar fields, then referencing and incorporating what could be applied to infusion care settings, gaps were identified and filled without reinventing the wheel.


Capital Equipment Standards and Sourcing for Infusion Therapy

Most large IDNs have regulations in place that mandate the facility’s standards for the medical equipment acquired by their centralized purchasing departments. However, to obtain state licensure, private clinical settings and free-standing centers must only employ FDA-regulated Class II and III medical devices, such as infusion pumps, vital signs monitors, etc.

But when it comes to capital equipment like beds, wheelchairs and infusion seating, even lobby furniture, there are best practices from different professional associations—which are not enforcement bodies—that these smaller clinics can comb from.

With NICA standards for quality infusion care, however, these clinics have a source to pull from when evaluating these products, providing a guideline that allows them to assess what is best for their practice, caregivers and patients.

For example, infusion chairs should be comfortable, but they should also be safe and easy to sanitize between patients.

Morgan noted that Champion solutions, in addition to premium comfort and clean-ability, have purposefully been designed for part interchangeability, ease of patient transfer and access, and much more.

Having that ease of use and longevity in an infusion seating asset sets Champion Chairs apart, particularly as it pertains to NICA’s infection prevention and control checklist. Engineered to create efficiencies in cleaning and disinfection, our chairs are upholstered with medical-grade material that withstands the rigorous demands set by cleaning and disinfection protocol.

The open design of the chair and swing-away arms expose surfaces that come into contact with the patient for easy cleaning, and the removable seat allows for unparalleled access for deep cleaning.


Standards and Care in the Era of COVID-19

By issuing vital guidance during this period of uncertainty, infusion centers were able to expand services and proactively take on an influx of patients that typically receive infusion care in hospitals, relieving overburdened facilities overwhelmed with COVID-patient testing and treatment, preserving the infusion delivery channel so that these other healthcare sectors could focus their resources on the coronavirus pandemic.

“The (NICA) standards have been very helpful and handy, to say the least. As hospitals are trying to expand their capacity to care for these unprecedented numbers of critically ill patients, outpatient infusion departments are often one of the groups getting moved to alternate sites,” Morgan said. “So, having these standards, along with our COVID-19-specific guidance, has provided sort of a cursory checklist of sorts to help determine what space would and would not make an acceptable temporary location for an infusion center.”

Noting their commitment to the healthcare industry and for their customers, Champion follows a set of standards that set them apart from the rest.  Being registered as a manufacturer of Class 1 Medical Devices, holding a UL-60601-1 Certification for the powered recline system, and achieving ISO 13485 Certification are key elements that help support our mission to provide products that support our customers, and their excellence in patient care.  For further support during COVID, Champion has developed a transmission barrier accessory that is retrofittable on any of our Classic, Ascent, Ascent II, or Alō recliners.

For information regarding Champion or the solutions we offer, please reach out to us at 800-998-5018.