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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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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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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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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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Perioperative services overhaul proves effort is worth the time

Getting a zero deficiency rating on a recent Joint Commission survey and bringing sterile processing in house are 2 of many improvements made at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital over the past decade. When Frances Baldwin, MBA, RN, assistant vice president of perioperative services, joined the hospital 11 years ago, Georgetown…

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By: OR Manager
March 13, 2014
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Improving instrument readiness cuts case delays, boosts surgeon satisfaction

Surgical case delays have been found to last an average of nearly 17 minutes. Not only do such delays make surgeons dissatisfied, they also reduce case volume and related revenues, and they may lead to additional time under anesthesia for patients. The root causes of instrument-based delays are seldom simple,…

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By: OR Manager
February 20, 2014
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Implementing the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist

In collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Safe Surgery Saves Lives program, and the Harvard School of Public Health, the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist was developed in 2008 as a tool to assist operating rooms worldwide in addressing important safety issues such as…

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