Arming the First Line of Defense
More than just a mere laundry for soiled instruments, the Sterile Processing Department represents the first line of defense in a hospital’s fight against infection, faulty equipment and inventory loss. Sterile Processing technicians not only clean and sterilize the instruments, they are also responsible for inspecting them to ensure they are in proper working order and tracking them to see that they are processed, packed and deliver to exactly where they need to be to keep the ORs running without costly downtime.
As such, it is important to keep the facility’s first line of defense well armed with sufficient tools to do their job correctly. Fortunately, current instrument decontamination, sterilization and tracking equipment is proving to be extremely effective and intuitive to use. Here is a look at just some of the products and services that can help SPDs keep their facilities running safely and efficiently.
Getinge also offers a full line of high-quality, automated steam sterilizers in a variety of sizes to accommodate virtually any space and volume requirement. This line of steam sterilizers includes Getinge's new 633HC steam sterilizer, which offers up to 21 easily accessed cycles and is ideal for wrapped and unwrapped, porous and nonporous hard goods, gowns or towel packs and liquids in self-venting or unsealed containers.
In addition to its impressive line of sterilization and disinfection equipment, Getinge USA also offers a highly advanced instrument tracking system that can help the SPD track and manage instruments and other capital equipment throughout the facility. The Getinge T-DOC system uses bar code technology that allows users to collect, organize, analyze and archive sterile processing and mobile equipment data and keep track of each piece of equipment at any given place or time.
In addition to the STERRAD systems, ASP also offers an innovative system that effectively automates endoscope cleaning. The EvoTech Endoscope Cleaner and Reprocessor (ECR) eliminates the labor-intensive manual cleaning of endoscopes. This system incorporated a unique technology that helps ensure compliance and cleaning consistency while improving safety for both the staff and patients. As an added bonus, the EvoTech ECR automatically detects leaks, eliminating the inconsistencies of manual inspection.
The Steri-Vac Sterilization Systems from 3M Health Care have been available for more than 40 years and utilize proven sterilization processes that are effective for sterilization of temperature and moisture-sensitive medical devices. The Steri-Vac Systems are dual-cycle, 100 percent ethylene oxide gas sterilizer/aerators that can be installed in a wall or placed free-standing in a the sterile processing environment. These reliable systems provide sterilization of complex devices, no lumen restrictions and boast an extensive history of safety.
Cardinal Health (Dublin, OH) offers a full line of detergent products designed to help the SPD staff both clean and protect valuable instruments. The detergents contain specialty-chelating agents that effectively tie up hard water minerals so they are not deposited onto instrumentation. This avoids staining and binding of instrumentation and allows for the compete removal of any hard water films which may harbor soils. These cleaning solutions optimize the performance and life expectancy of instruments resulting in cost savings, operational efficiency and patient safety.
Cardinal Health also offers the IMPRESS® instrument management system, which makes it easy to track instruments or sets anywhere in the work cycle in real time, from decontamination and assembly to sterilization, the OR and the patient. The system allows users to track single instruments, peel packs and sets with barcode technology and wireless scanning capability. This can help increase efficiency and minimize costly downtime.
STERIS Corporation (Mentor, OH) has long been a leader in providing equipment, services and solutions for sterile processing and surgical instrument sterilization. They provides a comprehensive line of sterilization and reprocessing products and technologies to protect valuable surgical instruments while enhancing both patient and personnel safety. STERIS's line of Amsco Steam Sterilizers is among the most extensive on the market, with a broad range of sizes and styles to meet practically any requirement in the sterile processing environment. They also offer cleaning and decontamination solutions for treating instruments prior to sterilization and an extensive array of biological indicators and other sterility assurance products.
SterilTek also offers Capacity Planning Services that help identify and develop long-term plans for SPDs including equipment planning, space requirements, conceptual drawings and operational and financial goals, as well as Education and Training Services that can be customized to suit each facility’s individual education and training needs. Other SterilTek services include Reprocessing Consolidation and Process Improvement assessment.
With such a broad range of supplies and equipment to keep the Sterile Processing Department well trained, well armed and working efficiently, hospitals have a golden opportunity to start fighting infection and controlling costs at the most basic level.