Category Archives: Sterilization & Disinfection

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 More »

Posted in CMS, Infection Prevention, Medicare, Rules & Regulations, Sterilization & Disinfection, Surgical Instruments

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 More »

Posted in Management, Patient Safety, Sterilization & Disinfection, Surgical Instruments

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 More »

Posted in Infection Prevention, Patient Safety, Sterilization & Disinfection

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 More »

Posted in Infection Prevention, Patient Safety, Sterilization & Disinfection, Surgical Instruments

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 More »

Posted in Change, Joint Commission, Leadership, OR Performance/Efficiency, Sterilization & Disinfection

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 More »

Posted in Performance Improvement, Sterilization & Disinfection, Surgical Instruments

Are you correctly using rigid sterilization containers for IUSS?

Although immediate-use steam sterilization (IUSS) is a safe method to sterilize emergently contaminated instruments, inappropriate use may lead to an increased risk for surgical site infection, according to a More »

Posted in Infection Prevention, Sterilization & Disinfection, Surgical Instruments

Using chemical sterilants and high-level disinfectants in health care facilities

The update of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation American National Standard Chemical sterilization and high-level disinfection in health care facilities, ANSI/AAMI ST58:2013, is More »

Posted in Guidelines, Infection Prevention, Sterilization & Disinfection

Sterile processing questions and answers

Answers to some of the questions asked at several recent annual meetings, notably AORN, APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology), and IAHCSMM (International Association of More »

Posted in Infection Prevention, Sterilization & Disinfection, Surgical Instruments

Unprocessed tray incident prompts investigation, leads to process improvements

The circulating nurse was cleaning up after surgery in an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) when she noticed the internal chemical indicator (a Class 5 integrating indicator) had not reached its appropriate More »

Posted in Infection Prevention, Patient Safety, Sterilization & Disinfection, Surgical Instruments

Safer Surgery: Six steps that aim for excellence in sterile processing

Fourth in a series on ten elements of safer surgery. It’s axiomatic that sterile processing is critical to safe and effective surgical care. The sterile processing department (SPD) is like an “engine More »

Posted in Patient Safety, Quality, Sterilization & Disinfection

Automating sterile processing for safety, efficiency

Lean management and automation have come together to create a sterile processing department (SPD) that can efficiently process the 700 to 1,000 instrument sets a day needed to support a caseload that is More »

Posted in Automation, Patient Safety, Sterilization & Disinfection

Have you taken steps to avoid the abuse of IUSS?

I have heard the following statement from OR personnel: “We use rigid sterilization containers and run a 270-275ºF (132-135ºC) prevacuum steam sterilization process in our OR. So we no longer use IUSS.” More »

Posted in Infection Prevention, Patient Safety, Sterilization & Disinfection, Surgical Instruments

Spore test for liquid chemical sterilant processing system

A spore test strip is now available for the Steris System 1E Liquid Chemical Sterilant Processing System. The Steris Verify Spore Test Strip for S40 was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in More »

Posted in Infection Prevention, Patient Safety, Sterilization & Disinfection

Lumens and endoscopes: Meeting cleaning basics

Narrow-lumened instruments and endoscopes are one of your biggest reprocessing challenges. They have the highest risk of being improperly processed, notes Michelle J. Alfa, PhD, FCCM, a researcher in health More »

Posted in Infection Prevention, Sterilization & Disinfection, Surgical Instruments

How to add more teeth to your loaner set policy

It’s one thing to have a policy on managing loaner instrument sets. But how do you put teeth in your policy so these sets can be reprocessed in time to provide safe care and comply with professional More »

Posted in Sterilization & Disinfection, Surgical Instruments

Sterile reprocessing: Rely on the experts to aid OR

Perioperative nurses’ roles have expanded to the point where it is difficult for them to be experts in all areas, especially the reprocessing of complex medical devices. And with reimbursement pressures, OR More »

Posted in Sterilization & Disinfection

Taking control of implant processing practices

Are you following recommended practices when processing implants? Both the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and the Association of Perioperative Nurses (AORN) state that a load More »

Posted in Infection Prevention, Patient Safety, Sterilization & Disinfection

Updated guideline on CI scope reprocessing

The Multisociety Guideline on Reprocessing Flexible GI Endoscopes has been updated from its original 2003 edition. Among changes: added details on critical reprocessing steps, including cleaning and drying reprocessing issues for scope attachments, such as flushing catheters. There is also … More »

Posted in Sterilization & Disinfection

Making a decision on Steris System 1E

This summary is based on a special report by ECRI Institute. Can you consider using the Steris System 1E even without a biological indicator (BI)? Yes, but decide carefully, ECRI Institute advises. A number of questions have been raised about … More »

Posted in Sterilization & Disinfection