We recently attended the annual International Association of Healthcare Central Service Material Management (IAHCSMM) conference in Pheonix, AZ, with numerous healthcare facilities and industry professionals, and we wanted to share our top three takeaways from the event:

1. Flexible Endoscope Reprocessing

There were several dedicated breakouts, and general sessions focused on flexible scope reprocessing, with one common theme – cleaning and drying your flexible endoscopes.

SGNA, AORN, and AAMI guidelines all state “use pressurized, filtered air to dry.” Many processing departments do not dry their scopes at all; they are left to drip dry. Many facilities rely on the air purge cycle in their OER/AER to dry the scopes; however, this does not thoroughly dry the scope. With 95% of scopes retaining fluid after 24 hours, it’s evident that drip-drying is not adequate.1

2. Quality Management System (QMS) in the Sterile Processing Department (SPD)

Another trending topic of discussion was that every department should have a QMS. The primary way you can achieve a QMS is by having a standard operating procedure in place and an automated instrument tracking system to reduce errors, define expectations, and validate you're meeting all required processing steps.

To help you visualize the power of a QMS system + automated instrument tracking system, we’ve put together the graphic below highlighting the four significant benefits:

Keep Your Patients Safe: Avoiding risk is hard. And when the safety of your patients is on the line, trying to avoid risks can take a toll. With automated tools in place (instrument tracking), you can manage your risk exposure and turn it into risk avoidance to ensure patient safety.

Drive Department Efficiency: Data and analytics hold valuable insights into whether or not your processes are efficient. The right solution with robust reporting capabilities can show you exactly where you missed opportunities and where you can make changes to lower your facility’s bottom line.

Save Time and Money: With thousands of assets that have multiple touch points and processes in SPD, the probability of lost or missing items resulting in incomplete trays delivered to the OR is high. With automated instrument tracking, the number of incomplete trays decreases significantly, translating to real savings as you're replacing fewer assets. This is just one of the many hard dollar savings automation provides.

Grow Your Business: Automation has a proven ROI and financial benefit to help your facility grow and reduce department expenses.

If you would like to learn more about our instrument tracking system, click here.

3. Staff Management and Working Relationships 

Creating a healthy work environment ultimately improves patient safety, team pride, increases productivity and improves problem-solving. Here are main steps to take to develop a collaborative team:

Improve Communication: Have an open line of communication with your team and challenge your staff to be professional and respectful towards colleagues.

Provide Visibility to Your Teams: Ensure staff members from each department understand responsibilities and challenges of the other departments.

Maintain a Strong Team Environment: Develop a larger purpose for the teams and reinforce collaboration through social group activities.

Overall, IAHCSMM 2018 gave us resources to elevate our knowledge through workshops, discussion groups, and seminars. We can’t wait to attend next year in Anaheim, CA!



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ANSI/AAMI ST79, Comprehensive guide to steam sterilization and sterility assurance in health care facilities. 2017

AST Guidelines for Best Practices for Laundering Scrub Attire. April 14, 2017. https://www.ast.org/uploadedFiles/Main_Site/Content/About_Us/Standard%20Laundering%20Scrub%20Attire.pdf

Laundry and textile hygiene in healthcare and beyond. July 1, 2019. http://microbialcell.com/researcharticles/2019a-bockmuehl-microbial-cell/

Role of healthcare apparel and other healthcare textiles in the transmission of pathogens: a review of the literature. March 31, 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7132459/

Study of bacterial flora associated with mobile phones of healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers. June 9, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5719508/

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1 Ofstead, C. L., & Eiland, J. E. (2018). Flexible Endoscopes: A Clearer View [IAHCSMM PDF presentation]. PDF.

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