Nov 15, 2023 | Sterile Processing CensiTrac

Changing How Sterile Processing Teams Use Instrument Tracking Systems

How often do you look around your sterile processing department and see opportunities for change and improvement? Do you sometimes feel like you’re the only one? Maybe there’s a different way your Prep and Pack area could be configured that would provide an optimized workflow. Maybe there are process improvements your team could make in the endoscope reprocessing area to make all of your lives easier. Or maybe, like our Censis Technologies Users Conference (CtUC) 2023 Change Maker Award winner Alina Easley, you have an instrument tracking system that isn’t being used to its full potential. 

Making changes in any area of life can be difficult, but when you add other people into the mix, that difficulty level rises exponentially. We’ve all heard the phrase “this is the way we’ve always done it” and cringed, sighed, or groaned in frustration. Implementing change requires dedication, tenacity, and finding people to team up with to convince the nay-sayers. 


Barriers to Implementing Change


As the CensiTrac Coordinator of her facilities, Alina has managed to implement change by holding fast to her conviction that change can be good for her team. She noticed that her team was vastly underutilizing their CensiTrac instrument tracking system. They were still tracking with paper for many processes, when automation could have made their workflow smooth and seamless. 

When she brought up the topic of utilizing more of the software’s features, initially she received pushback. But she persevered, explaining “the why” to her team as many times as she needed to for them to accept the improvements. She continues to educate and innovate, using the resources available to her. These resources include networking with other sterile processing department (SPD) professionals at events like CtUC 2019 and being active in online CensiTrac groups provided by her healthcare network. There she can ask questions and troubleshoot with other CensiTrac Coordinators and Educators.

She also leans on her CensiTrac Client Manager (CM), the help desk, and the various online trainings available to all Censis customers, such as the CensiTrac Essentials for Managers (CEM) courses held live every month. Alina believes in her team and their mission to provide the best patient care possible and continues to feed that passion into her position.

Sterile Processing Changes and Improvements


Implementing change isn’t easy for anyone, and guiding a team through these sterile processing improvements is an intricate skillset that requires patience and creativity. When Alina looked around her SPD, she saw weak spots, such as documentation still being done with paper, even though they have an instrument tracking system (ITS). She asked herself how the process could be streamlined using data from their ITS and how it would benefit the team’s workflow.

One of the biggest changes she made was to utilize the Competency module. This helps her team because they attached the competencies to individual instruments or trays, so that when the item is scanned, the competency populates and provides guidance to the technician. She completed this task by collaborating with her education team to ensure all data uploaded was correct and up to date.

Another improvement was to work with her Quality Assurance technician and implement tray weights in the system. This led them into compliance not only with guidelines for tray weights but also with their autoclave manufacturer’s instructions for maximum weight allowed in the sterilizers.


CensiTrac and Education Working Together


Once the initial resistance passed, the SPD team at Alina’s facilities discovered what they liked about implementing improvements. Learning why and how modules in their ITS could make their jobs easier went a long way to converting them into digital believers. One of the biggest improvements the staff enjoyed is the Quality Feedback module and all the information that is gathered and utilized from it.

New technicians appreciate scanning individual instruments that are unfamiliar, as it gives them the opportunity to learn and familiarize themselves with new specialties. Alina loves the diversity of CensiTrac’s Report features and has a multitude that she relies on daily, from the national level down to individual technicians, that gives her a wide range of information.

Alina teaches her staff how to use new CensiTrac features by running multiple tests on her own so that she can anticipate questions from her team. This way she can also explain how and why the change will benefit them individually and as a sterile processing department.


Resources to be Your Own Change Maker


Are you motivated to make change, but you don’t know where to start? Alina suggests that if you have CensiTrac, reach out to your Client Manager. They have the knowledge and resources to really launch your team and processes to the next level. Another resource is other CensiTrac users. Maybe someone else uses a module that you’ve been curious about, or they have an easier way to implement a practice that you can adopt.

Reach out to the knowledgeable coordinators in your area. 
If you’d like to hear Alina’s own words, check out her ConCensis podcast on our website. If you’re a stranger to CensiTrac and all it can offer, head to Censis now and fill out the ‘Contact Us’ form to start the conversation!