Perhaps one of these scenarios feels painfully familiar: You’re trying to gather information to prepare for a survey, but you can’t decipher the handwriting on a cycle report. Or perhaps you’ve run into issues finding necessary information in a large storage room full of paper reports. Or, maybe there was a typing error when you printed off a report from one system and accidentally fat-fingered a number inputting it into another system. These are likely problems you encounter daily in a sterile processing department (SPD).
While sterile processing will continue to become more complex, fortunately some of these problems can be easily solved with integrated technologies. Using well-integrated software tools does more than just help you overcome the problems of paper-based storage or reducing errors with manual data entry — though those are both important value-adds. The real benefit of using integrated technologies is that it allows you to easily and intuitively connect your records of the sterilization process and increases value across every part of your department.
ASP ACCESS® Technology and CensiTrac™
At the 2022 Censis Technologies User Conference (CtUC), we talked about the value of integrating ASP ACCESS Technology with CensiTrac. With these combined technologies, your team can more easily capture and use electronic records of your sterilization process and monitor results.
ASP ACCESS Technology connects the ecosystem of Advanced Sterilization Products (ASP) tools within your department. This technology helps your team automatically digitize records while recording cycle data from all ASP devices. It alerts your team of cycle results and supports integrated hospital technologies for SPD.
CensiTrac is a cloud-based surgical asset management system. It streamlines processes for managing trays and comes with built-in processes to ensure regulatory compliance.
Integrating these tools in your SPD means you can scan a single asset and have all the sterilization information about that asset in one place. The systems can share information with each other to speed up data transfer, reduce data entry errors, and provide a simplified process for tracking each cycle in your department.
Four Key Areas Where Integrated Technologies Support Compliance
There are four areas where integrated technologies for sterile processing will really help your department shine: documentation, quality control, process improvement, and survey preparedness. Let’s take a look at each of these to see how and why these integrated tools will benefit your teams.
AAMI ST58 guidelines have many professional recommendations for the electronic documentation of SPD processes. They recommend SPD teams use electronic records because they allow quicker access to load information, provide evidence of your department’s quality control program, and have better legibility, accuracy, traceability, security, and data integrity.
Using both ASP ACCESS Technology and CensiTrac together ensures your team is easily able to access the records, retain them, and make them readily available when needed. The integration creates a cycle record that includes a load number and specific load contents. Then it automates cycle records which are easy to access with CensiTrac load reports. Plus, because they’re digital, the records are retained indefinitely without any of the heartache that comes with paper record storage.
If you get a positive biological indicator (BI) test during a cycle, you know it means you need to recall the load and reprocess all items from that load. It’s a critical piece of the process and you need to ensure that you’re tracking and recording this test. The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and AAMI both have standards for managing this aspect of quality control. With integrated technologies available, you can know you’re automatically compliant by following the prompts from the software.
Using integrated software tools, your team is automatically reminded to run a BI test and input the results, so this critical information is recorded every time it’s needed. And you can use barcode scanners to scan a container and pull up integrated information on both systems, so you reduce the risk of data entry error and ensure BI results are correlated to ASP’s STERRAD Systems cycle records.
The integrated technologies will prompt your team when needed to allow them to take immediate corrective action if there is a sterilization failure, making your sterilization process more efficient.
Integrated technologies can help you comply with AAMI ST90 guidelines. With ASP ACCESS Technology you can automatically create a device history report that syncs with CensiTrac, so every cycle can be tracked, reviewed, and quickly located.
The real value of integrated hospital technologies for SPD means you have one place to review all the relevant information you need for your department. For example, you can include instructions for use (IFUs), so your team can sterilize correctly the first time. This results in your team having the tools to follow every step of the right process every time. And it means you have an all in one, encompassing load record. One that is consolidated into an easy-to-use and easy-to-access report. Ensuring you can both track your processes and share the results when stakeholders need to see them.
With integrated technologies, you won’t have to sweat when it’s time for a Joint Commission or DNV audit, a VA inspection or other surveys. These tools come with automatic safeguards to ensure you’re complying with the relevant regulations and ensuring patient safety. These technologies can be configured to best meet your individual processes while providing complete audit reports exactly when you need them.
With cloud-based technology, you can have real-time access to statistics and sterilization statuses across multiple departments and sites. With integrated technologies for sterile processing available in your department, your team will be able to create more efficient processes that are both compliant with regulations and simple to follow.