Need Approval for a New Products or Technology? Multidisciplinary Risk Assessments Help Facilitate the Process

Safe patient care is the most important issue to healthcare professionals. New products and new technology for the healthcare field are continuously being created.  Most new products are designed to improve patient or employee safety. However, given potentially significant benefits, adoption of new products or ideas often runs into obstacles, especially when it comes to getting […]

Sterilization or Disinfection? It’s time to Modernize the Spaulding Classification System!

In 1968, Dr. Earle Spaulding classified medical devices into three categories based on device usage and body contact.  What we currently know as the Spaulding system, classifies devices as critical (presenting a high risk), semi-critical and non-critical (presenting a low risk) depending on the infection risk involved. The system also classifies the appropriate level of […]

Newly Updated ANSI/AAMI ST79:2017 is now available

ANSI/AAMI ST79, The comprehensive guide to steam sterilization and sterility assurance in healthcare facilities is known in the sterile processing profession as the bible for reprocessing guidelines. There have been no updates or amendments since 2003, until now. This comprehensive update to ST79 has major revisions, that includes a user-friendly reorganization of content, ST79 is […]

Verification of Instrument Cleaning Processes

The old saying “If it is not clean it can’t be sterilized”, is extremely true.  Sterile Processing departments (SPD) routinely use physical, chemical and biological monitors to verify sterilization conditions are met. Nevertheless, these monitors do not monitor if the items were properly clean prior to being placed in a sterilizer. The U.S. Food and […]

Solving Wet Pack or Wet Load Issues

  One of the most frustrating and time-consuming issues in sterilization is troubleshooting wet packs or wet loads.  A sterilized package is considered a wet pack if moisture (dampness, droplets, or puddles of water) is left in or on a package after the proper cooling period.1  Moisture on or inside a package is an issue […]

Standards, Guidelines or Recommendations: Do We Really Need to Follow Them?

There are many published standards guidelines and recommendations related to reprocessing reusable medical devices. As evidence becomes available, these publications are often updated to reflect most current best practices. So, does that mean we must follow them? Let’s start by discussing what the Association for the Advancement of medical instrumentation (AAMI), the Association of periOperative […]

Accreditation Survey Site Visits for SPD: Are you Compliant?

The Joint Commission (TJC) or The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services survey site visits focuses on safety and quality of patient care throughout the healthcare facility.  Surveyors will more than likely want to review areas that process devices via high-level disinfection (HLD) or sterilization. Surveyors will want to see that facilities are conduction risk […]

OR and SPD – Why Can’t We Just Get Along?

Can any health care professional deliver effective hands-on patient care in today’s high-technology environment without the backup of countless support people? Of course, the answer is always no. The Sterile Processing Department (SPD) and the Operating Room typically depend on each more than any other departments within a hospital. However, the relationship between OR and SPD is frequently less […]

Managing SPD Requires Critical Thinking Skills

Sterile Processing Department (SPD) managers have multiple responsibilities with big impacts on their department, the facility and even more important the patients. Therefore, SPD leaders must have critical thinking skills founded on published evidence based guidelines, education and experience. Critical thinking is disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence.  It also […]

AORN’s New Evidence Based Guideline: Processing Flexible Endoscopes

The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) published “Guidelines for Processing Flexible Endoscopes” in February 2016. As part of the research, AORN completed an extensive search of over 3,000 published documents relating to endoscope reprocessing. They used the strongest evidence geared toward prevention of infection transmission for creating this comprehensive guideline. Each piece of evidence used as a reference […]