The following article is written by Matt Smith, marketing analyst for Healthmark Industries Co.
There are many challenges in a central sterilization supply department, but one of the most important is to provide consistency in proper reprocessing of surgical instruments and equipment. Many facilities have incorporated a magnifying glass at each work station to enhance their ability to check instruments. Per the AAMI Guidelines, "Verification of a cleaning process consists of … the most common method is a visual inspection, sometimes involving the use of a lighted magnifying glass … (AAMI ST 79 D.1 General Considerations).
The purpose of having one magnifying glass at each work station is to allow the CSSD professional to inspect the instrument for irregularities like burrs on the tip of a scissor and it can help identify stains as well.
Magnifying glasses have many benefits (i.e., tilting lenses, lights, size, various magnification power, etc.). Some can now be hooked up to a computer by a simple USB port and a picture can be taken and saved to be viewed later.
All of these features enhance CSSD technicians' ability to inspect instrumentation better. If they see any irregularity, the instrument can then be placed in the repair bin for repair or replacement. This simple tool allows the CSSD staff to catch possible concerns ahead of time and provide the best service possible for their customers.
The magnifying glass also enhances the CSSD technician's ability to spot stains. Stains come in all sizes, shapes and intensity. Sometimes a stain can appear quite benign or may not be easily detected by the human eye; the magnifying glass enhances the ability of the technician to pick up stains.
Identifying the type of stain is also very important. If a stain or any residue has been found, the CSSD professional may want to use a hemoglobin test to detect if any blood protein is found. If the test is positive for blood, it allows technicians to check their cleaning process to see why blood was left on the instrument.
Incorporating this simple "tool of the trade", the magnifying glass, in your facility's CSSD will help ensure verification of their process when it comes to inspecting instruments.