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Lean tools help staff weed out bioburden pests

At least half the battle in making and sustaining process improvements is getting the entire team on board with a new workflow. One key to getting buy-in from staff is to clarify why changes are needed and what the consequences may be if the new processes aren’t followed. In a…

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By: OR Manager
July 22, 2015
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Creating a powerful partnership between the OR and the SPD

Perhaps no other departments in a hospital work as closely together as the OR and the sterile processing department, yet friction isn’t uncommon as both areas strive to meet service demands. Although the relationship between the two is unlikely to ever be free of tension, leaders of both departments increasingly…

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By: OR Manager
July 22, 2015
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Better communication and teamwork improve sterile processing efficiency

Relations between the OR and the sterile processing department (SPD) are not always smooth. OR staff need timely, accurate instrument trays that meet the highest standards of safety. Anything short of 100% performance leads to complaints about the SPD. But many OR staff members do not appreciate the challenges faced…

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By: OR Manager
May 14, 2015
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Don’t let faulty processing put a damper on instrument packaging

Instruments that are still damp or wet after being sterilized cannot be placed in storage. The moisture that remains on or inside of a package can create a pathway for microorganisms to travel from the outside to the inside of the package. Moisture may be in the form of visible…

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By: OR Manager
May 14, 2015
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Infections spur new guidelines for endoscope reprocessing

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 17 published a final guidance on reprocessing reusable medical devices. This guidance, which provides manufacturers with recommendations to validate their reprocessing instructions, comes on the heels of a host of “superbug” bacteria outbreaks related to reprocessing of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) duodenoscopes.…

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By: OR Manager
April 17, 2015
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2013 Clinical and Patient Safety eLearning Course

Safety is at the forefront of all patient care activities. This series provides the audience with a variety of topics related to safe surgical care team collaboration, efficiencies, and infection control. This eLearning course, which consists of 5 presentations from the 2013 OR Manager Conference, is approved for 5 CEUs.…

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Water: A critical ingredient for instrument cleaning and disinfection

Using the right type of water for instrument reprocessing can prolong the life of medical instrumentation, contribute to effective function, and—most importantly—minimize the risk of adverse patient outcomes from contamination. The water quality requirement for various stages of instrument reprocessing depends on the type of instrument and the disinfection or…

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By: OR Manager
February 12, 2015
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CMS replaces flash sterilization with IUSS

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has replaced the term “flash sterilization” with “immediate use steam sterilization” (IUSS) in surgical settings. The change in terminology, which applies to Medicare-participating hospitals, critical access hospitals, and ambulatory surgical centers that are subject to Conditions of Participation or Conditions of Coverage,…

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By: OR Manager
December 16, 2014
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Best sterile processing managers anticipate, collaborate, stay up to date

With more than 36 years of experience in sterile processing, I have seen many changes occur, and I know what it takes to be an effective sterile processing (SP) manager. The goal of an effective SP manager is to determine where the department is now, where you want it to…

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By: OR Manager
November 17, 2014
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Environmental cleaning in sterile processing areas

Thorough environmental cleaning limits the number of microorganisms that can be transferred to the patient and the healthcare provider, thus helping to prevent healthcare-associated infections. A team consisting of perioperative nursing, sterile processing, environmental services, and infection prevention staff needs to be established to develop cleaning procedures for all areas…

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By: OR Manager
August 15, 2014
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A risk analysis of the steam sterilization process can improve patient safety

The steam sterilization process is complex and includes a number of important steps: decontamination, preparation and packaging, sterilization, quality control, sterile storage, and product distribution. The effectiveness of this process cannot be determined by inspection or testing of each product, and because sterility assurance is a probability function, it must…

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By: OR Manager
May 12, 2014
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Eliminating Distraction-Induced Errors

Distracting interruptions such as phone calls, pages, text messages, requests from colleagues, equipment failures, and alarms are some of the major sources of errors that harm patients. When clinicians are interrupted or distracted while performing a task, their patients can be harmed. Fortunately, there are several simple, low-cost, and easy-to-do-now…

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