Sterilization stands as one of the most important tasks healthcare staff must undertake. As tightening budgets have providers seeking efficiencies wherever they can plausibly be found, tools that expedite the sterilization process without compromising safety generate keen interest.

That’s the environment Advanced Sterilization Products was responding to when it came time to develop the 30-minute STERRAD VELOCITY Biological Indicator (BI) System. Cleared by the FDA earlier this summer, the device promises to allow facilities to build in additional safeguards without unduly slowing turnover processes.

To learn more, Surgical Products interviewed Amy Smith, vice president of ASP global marketing.

What advances does the STERRAD VELOCITY bring to the market?

When ASP invented STERRAD, the first hydrogen peroxide gas plasma low-temperature sterilizer, more than 30 years ago, it revolutionized sterilization. Now, as the world’s first STERRAD-integrated biological indicator that can provide results in 30 minutes, the STERRAD VELOCITY Biological Indicator (BI) System has the potential to set new standards again. With only a 30-minute wait time, the system makes it possible for hospital sterilization departments to run a BI in every cycle and know with certainty that proper sterilization conditions have been achieved before instruments are used in patients.

In addition to providing fast results, the BI has a new, integrated reader that provides automated confirmation of results when instruments are reprocessed in STERRAD Systems. The color-coded system provides clear results so users don’t have to worry about the subjectivity of visual interpretation.

It’s also important to note that our engineers designed the biological indicator specifically for use in each of our eight unique STERRAD System cycles using proprietary data and results from thousands of historical cycles. Because ASP is in the unique situation of having developed both the BI and the sterilizer, we can connect the systems and ensure the integrated performance of both in ways no other company can. We have the only BI that’s fully integrated with STERRAD Systems, thus minimizing the risk of false positive results.

All of this makes it easier for hospitals to quickly confirm that the required conditions for sterilization have been achieved, with the confidence that the devices they’re delivering to the OR are sterile.

Amy Smith
Vice President, ASP Global Marketing

What impact does the advanced speed of the device have?

Over the years, one of the biggest concerns we’ve heard from our customers is the need for a BI that provides results quickly enough to ensure that all devices are sterile prior to sending them to the OR. Patient safety is a top priority, and making sure instruments are properly sterilized is an important way healthcare workers can help reduce the incidences of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). However, because existing BIs on the market take several hours or more, many instruments are sent back to operating rooms before results are confirmed.

With STERRAD VELOCITY hospitals have an opportunity to make the choice to run a BI in every cycle, every day, significantly reducing the risk of releasing instruments prior to BI confirmation.

How do the smart information sharing technologies built into the system change processes for users?

All of ASP’s technologies are designed with a focus on addressing the challenges our customers face every day.  Customers consistently tell us they need systems that can help them keep patients safe, maximize efficiency and ensure compliance with hospital protocols and procedures. ASP’s smart information sharing technologies help overcome all of these challenges.

As the only biological indicator on the market that is fully integrated with STERRAD sterilizers, the STERRAD VELOCITY minimizes false negative and false positive results that can cause disruptions in workflow.  The system also features an intuitive touch-screen interface and built-in compliance checks, including automated record keeping, reminders to ensure the use of control BIs, controls to ensure a BI is incubated within two hours of cycle completion and visual, audible and mobile alerts. These features facilitate error-free operation, enhance compliance and ultimately help raise the standard of care for patients.

When paired with ASP ACCESS, our smart information sharing technology, the biological indicator can help sterilization departments become even more efficient and compliant. ASP ACCESS is designed to operate over a variety of computing networks and integrate easily with various information systems. STERRAD VELOCITY is the only BI reader that can communicate BI information to STERRAD Systems, instrument tracking systems and hospital networks, reducing the amount of manual documentation required and further reducing the opportunity for errors. 

(Image credit: ASP)

In the healthcare field, there’s been a strong move toward full-scale solutions rather than singular products. How does the STERRAD VELOCITY fit into that trend?

Given ASP’s legacy as a pioneer in the industry, healthcare providers around the world have long trusted us to provide solutions to help them protect their patients against HAIs. The STERRAD VELOCITY BI System is the latest addition to ASP’s sterilization ecosystem which provides sterile processing departments with an end-to-end, automated sterilization solution.

Developing a BI that satisfies performance requirements for all cycles requires detailed knowledge of the cycles and the instruments being processed, information that only the sterilizer manufacturer has complete access to. Additionally, using the products as a system provides benefits and capabilities that are not available when they are used individually.  When used together, STERRAD Systems, ASP ACCESS, and the STERRAD VELOCITY BI System can communicate with one another as well as hospital networks and instrument tracking systems to automate processes and share data.

These features are a tremendous help to hospitals, giving them the peace of mind that they have sterilized instruments properly and that their records are up-to-date and readily available. They know they have done their job correctly and feel confident that instruments sent to the OR are sterile.

Anything else you’d like to add?

ASP has been partnering with our customers to develop innovations in sterilization for 30 years, and we’re proud that with STERRAD VELOCITY we can now provide customers with an opportunity to ensure that every instrument sent to the OR for use in patients is sterile. Hospital sterilization departments play such a critical role in helping to fight hospital-acquired infections that can have such a devastating impact on patients. Knowing that we are able to help them in this fight is why we come to work every day.