Mary Logan: How You Can Improve Reprocessing

What’s your role with the management of scopes? At a minimum, you are probably following The Joint Commission’s request that you inventory them. Attendees at last October’s AAMI/FDA Medical Device Reprocessing Summit contributed tips and lessons learned that led to a list of 10 Things Your Organization Can Do Now to Improve Reprocessing. The tips, printed on one page that’s easy to tear out, are included in a post-summit publication, which is available for free here: www.aami.org/publications/summits/2011_Reprocessing_Summit_publication.pdf. If you haven’t shared this publication with your OR, sterilization, and patient safety colleagues, do it now! Share with us your own tips and lessons learned for the management of scopes.

Here’s a condensed version of that list:

  1. Cleaning and disinfection/sterilization of reusable devices are separate, equally important processes and must be performed before each patient use according to the device manufacturer’s written instructions for use (IFU).
  2. Have the IFU as well as all cleaning implements and equipment required by the IFU readily available in all the reprocessing areas.
  3. Create a multidisciplinary committee to review the priority issues and set a plan for solving them throughout the organization.
  4. Share lessons learned.
  5. Establish a formal program for reprocessing, including written standardized policies and procedures that include a chain of accountability.
  6. Know the current standards, recommended practices, and IFU.
  7. Central sterile processing should be included in purchasing decisions for medical devices.
  8. Separate and standardize functions and locations.
  9. Train, train, and retrain.
  10. Conduct an audit of compliance with standards and regulations.
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