Dec 20, 2022 | Article

How Instrument Tracking Software Helps You Prepare for Your Next Survey

  1. Use CensiTrac for completely paperless load records across all reprocessing modalities.
  2. Use CensiTrac’s Efficiency Task workflow to document required daily, weekly, and monthly preventative maintenance for reprocessing equipment.
  3. Use CensiTrac’s Quality Feedback module to record audit results and customer-reported errors.
  4. Use CensiTrac’s reporting module to interpret data and demonstrate compliance for stakeholders such as accrediting bodies, internal customers, and vendors.

Accreditation and compliance audits can have a huge impact on the daily operations of your sterile processing department (SPD) and facility. They take a massive amount of resources to prepare, conduct, and follow up on. But what if there were a way to optimize SPD operations every day to help you not only ensure daily compliance to be prepared for a survey but also impress the surveyors?

That’s something John Arend and his team are beginning to do. John is the Director of Sterile Processing and Surgical Services Support at Froedtert Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI. He joined us at the 2022 Censis Technologies User Conference (CtUC) to talk about how his department has used paperless instrument tracking to revolutionize its processes and impress surveyors.

Why Going Paperless Makes a Difference for SPD


John started off his presentation by sharing a story about a time when he impressed a surveyor. They were analyzing how his facility was complying with cleaning standards on their mechanical washers. The team was able to report that they were getting clear tests and the surveyor followed up with a question: How do you know they’re clean?

John’s team was able to pull up the CensiTrac record showing their test results from that very morning. They had historical results available, too. The surveyor was impressed.

It wasn’t always this easy for his team to be ready to respond to follow-up questions and document their compliance with correct processes. When John first arrived in the department, they weren’t maintaining any historical logs of their test results on their mechanical washers and their sterilization testing results were all stored haphazardly together in a box.

Going paperless provided their SPD team with a more organized and systemized approach to managing their load records. As they adapted to the new paperless processes, they found their records:

  • Were easier to access (so they could answer questions about any part of their sterilization process)
  • Had better historical management
  • Were better at identifying discrepancies
  • Ensured they were testing all their equipment consistently
  • Created an overall faster process for their team

Within just three years they’ve been able to use their instrument tracking system to optimize SPD performance and show their progress, even for their high-level disinfection (HLD) instruments.

To move to paperless tracking, they needed to:

  1. Audit their current processes for both sterilization and HLD and track what they were recording on paper
  2. Track what steps needed to be followed to remain compliant with ANSI/AAMI and other standards
  3. Build out new processes that optimized SPD compliance and helped their team track their work

Once they made the transition to CensiTrac, they’ve been able to measure their performance improvement and continue to streamline processes across their department.

When You Track It, You Can Improve It


When John first started, there was an issue where their test for mechanical washers was repeatedly failing, so they went back to the manufacturer with questions. The manufacturer suggested it was because the Froedtert team wasn’t following the recommended maintenance schedule. John’s team didn’t agree, but they had no way to prove it.

This is when they realized they needed to track preventative maintenance. It was a big lift, but they started out by gathering all the instructions for use (IFUs) for every machine and documenting each task that needed to be completed and how frequently.

Then they utilized Efficiency Tasks within CensiTrac to help them follow the guidelines and record them. By going paperless, they dropped the need for clipboards and transitioned to seamless barcode scanning tools to automatically track tasks, timestamp them, and calculate how long they take.

The team is still perfecting its preventative maintenance, but because everything is easily recorded and reported on, they’re able to track their progress to see what they’re doing well and where they can improve.

As an added bonus, they have documentation all ready for their next survey to show how they’re complying with preventative maintenance guidelines.

Optimizing Process Improvement With Quality Feedback


Using their instrument tracking system to optimize SPD operations didn’t just help John and his team become better prepared for audits. It also helped them manage their relationships with their customers, the operating room (OR) and surgeons.

  • They’ve been tracking quality feedback and OR-reported errors and used it to streamline their internal audit process.
  • They’ve shifted from a quantity approach to a quality approach for internal audits, focusing on the most common OR-reported problems and high-risk areas to decide how and what to audit.
  • They use their data to prove to both the OR and regulators that they have processes in place to address weaknesses and are improving in those areas.

They’ve also used their instrument tracking system to seamlessly improve communication and coordination with other departments. As they receive trays and carts back from the OR, they have a number of barcodes easily available to help them catalog the general state of the cart when it returns to their department. If they consistently find steps were missed to prepare the instruments for sterilization, they can share the report to help improve processes upline.

Impress Surveyors With a Culture of Compliance


The more day-to-day processes you actively monitor the more you know about the true state of quality, patient safety, and compliance, and the more effective you’ll be with process improvement and control.

Using a software solution like CensiTrac can help you optimize your SPD processes and be ready to demonstrate compliance and improvement for surveyors and all other stakeholders you interact with.

Ready to get started on paperless instrument tracking? Get in touch with us today.


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