10 Sterile Processing Essentials From ECRI Institute

Inadequately reprocessed devices are a common concern among healthcare providers, according to ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization.

ECRI Institute PSO listed 10 essential actions to effectively clean surgical instruments:

1.    Provide an adequate number of trained staff, facilities, and resources for the sterile processing department.
2.    Standardize and simplify procedures in all areas where instruments are reprocessed.
3.    Monitor the quality of instrument reprocessing through post-cleaning inspections.
4.    Seek input from reprocessing department staff on instrument and equipment purchases.
5.    Limit the operating room's dependence on immediate-use sterilization.
6.    Establish delivery criteria for loaned instruments and prohibit immediate-use sterilization of them.
7.    Require regular competency assessments of staff who reprocess instruments.
8.    Foster collaboration and teamwork among reprocessing department and OR staff.
9.    Recognize and respect the contribution by reprocessing staff to patient safety and quality care.
10.    Encourage prompt reporting of events or near misses involving contaminated instruments.

More Articles on Sterile Processing:

15 QI Tactics to Reduce Sterile Processing Errors
10 Interventions to Mitigate Risk and Create a Culture of Safety in the OR

6 Common Errors in Surgical Instrument Processing

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