Nearly one quarter of all hospital-acquired infections are linked to medical devices used during surgery or other procedures.
A new report from the Health Information and Quality Authority says hospitals must have proper systems to prevent the risk of micro-organisms entering a device and a patient's bloodstream.
This should include proper hand hygiene and daily inspection and tracking of medical devices.
New draft standards for the prevention of hospital-acquired infections published by HIQA today (read the draft here in pdf) recommend one infection control nurse for every 115 acute beds in a hospital and one for every 250 beds in a long-stay facility.
The 12 standards also cover surveillance, outbreak management, governance and other areas.
They will be the subject of a consultation process until the middle of July. Final standards will be produced by the end of the year.
HIQA says that in line with its statutory remit, it will monitor compliance with the final standards through a number of measures, including hospital inspections.