Dec 8, 2021 | Sterile Processing Scope Tracking CensiTrac Best Practice

The Lifecycle of a Container: Staying in Compliance with Greater Efficiency

Tracking your containers through their journey is much easier with the automation of CensiTrac. No paper to lose or storage fees to pay. Documentation is immediately retrievable and alerts you if a step was missed making it easy to show compliance. Documenting is completed with a quick scan of a barcode or the click of a button. Thereby proving to be effective, efficient, and user friendly.


Decontamination Module

Documenting the cleaning and decontamination of instrument sets is typically not recorded if you don’t have a tracking system. It’s hard to find time to write down everything coming into decontam, and who wants to store contaminated paper. When dirty containers come into decontamination, they go through pre-clean and washers. If you have a tracking system, you have the capability to scan the containers into the decontamination module. In 2-4 seconds you documented that the container was cleaned. All you need is a computer or handheld tablet to scan the container which will include its contents and document in the container history, who cleaned it, and when.

Documenting the decontamination process includes critical information that shows the container was cleaned and that part of the process was completed. All cleaning equipment must be tested each day it is used and documentation should include the test results along with the name, date, and time of the person documenting the results. If you aren’t doing a wash test, you don’t know if the detergent solution was right. AAMI ST79 13.2 was updated in 2017 and the weekly wash test changed from weekly to daily. However, many facilities are only doing a weekly wash test, and many aren’t testing their cart washer.

Sterile Processing Techs must be trained on documentation requirements and how to perform required compliance checks. If documentation is missing, even if the steps were performed, you can’t prove it. By scanning the container to the Decontam module the cleaning and decontamination is documented, which thereby, documents compliance.


Rigid Containers: When cleaning rigid containers, if you don’t have a cart washer they may not be properly cleaned which may cause unintended consequences. Wiping a rigid container with a sterile wipe can leave a residue that, once the container is sterilized the steam can cause the residue to become fluid and end up on the instrument, resulting in biofilm, and a chemical that could be harmful to human tissue. Always refer to the rigid container’s IFU for proper cleaning and decontamination.


Instruments: Scanning containers to the CensiTrac Decontam module allows for staff to see specific cleaning instructions. For example, when you scan the container, you could get a pop-up that says: Make sure the cement is off the cement gun, or this retractor comes apart in four pieces. All of that information would be missed if containers aren’t scanned.

Your container could also be part of a recall. That recall alert will stay active until the message is withdrawn or the container is scanned to the Decontam module. The Decontam module resets the cycle for processing and begins the cleaning, assembly, and sterilization process.


Container Assembly Module

The Container Assembly module has features and functions that will expedite assembly, provide direction, and assist with accuracy. From placements (e.g. stringer, bottom of tray) to substitutes, and notification of what was missing at the last assembly the assembly function is very user-friendly. Add pictures for instrument placement reference and integrity testing for insulated laparoscopic and Rongeurs and you’ve applied patient safety measures.

The Container Assembly module allows for printing the count sheet for that assembly, missing instrument labels, and container labels. If you utilize OneSource there’s a direct link from the instrument to the IFU. With the click of a button or scanning of an instrument, you can efficiently and correctly assemble a container.


Sterilization Module

Building a sterilizer load is quick, easy, and involves a few clicks and scanning; this sure beats having to handwrite the list of what is being sterilized. The process involves scanning the sterilizer barcode, scanning all items to be sterilized, counting all the items, and verifying the total items match the total number scanned. This verifies that everything has been scanned (documenting the sterilization process); and as you know, if you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen.

When a load completes the sterilization process documenting the results is completed with safety and compliance mechanisms in place. Documenting the biological indicator (BI) requires the processed BI to match the control BI, and if it doesn’t you’ll know you need to process a new control. A BI cannot be resulted and documented before the allotted time frame. Documenting the load result is specific to the load and if a load’s results are not documented you can’t create a new load in that sterilizer until the previous load results are documented.


Quality Audits

Quality audits should be done routinely to make sure all required documentation is correct and that a quality audit has been done. It should reflect that it was performed, the results, and the name of the staff member conducting the audit with the date and time.

CensiTrac allows for complete electronic documentation from processing a container, how many containers and peel packs were processed, sterilization parameter information, to productivity. In the event, information is needed for a root cause analysis, tracer, or patient incident you can have the reporting information in a matter of minutes. An easier, safer, and more efficient way than digging through boxes of papers and hoping you can read the handwriting.


Sterile Storage Module

Once the container is sterilized, it is sent to its storage location (e.g. OR shelf, off-site clinic, inpatient department, ED) and should be scanned to its specific storage location. Storage locations should be specific so when staff places it into storage they know exactly where it belongs and it’s easily locatable. This is a quick tool to locate missing items that may have been scanned/delivered to the wrong location and assists new staff members with learning where items belong.


There is currently a shortage of staff in sterile processing departments. Quality over quantity is a mantra of sterile processing and with a reduction in staff, quantity sometimes overrides quality. Utilizing an electronic tracking system can assist with accuracy, efficiency, and compliance. Which can keep you aligned with quality over quantity while protecting medical personnel, patients, staff, and your facility.