Many different factors contribute to smooth transitions, especially when approaching the decision of moving from a manual to an automated system. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure that your transition is an easy and effective one for everyone on your team.

1. Involve both OR and CSSD in decision-making

Giving both departments the opportunity to be part of the selection process sets the stage for a successful implementation. According to Sterile Processing in Healthcare Facilities: Preparing for Accreditation Surveys, 2nd Edition published by AAMI, the delivery of sterile healthcare products for use in patient care not only depends on the efficacy of the sterilization, but also on “effective quality control and process improvement systems that encompass all aspects of device reprocessing from point of use through sterilization to reuse.”1

Having a multi-disciplinary team involved in the selection process of the new automated system helps to ensure the entire reprocessing loop is being considered when investigating different options. Involving both teams also creates the opportunity for you to get everyone on board with the change early on before any major decisions are made—all guaranteeing a smoother transition down the road.

2. Pre-education of staff on benefits of automation

Technology solutions are embedded in so many aspects of healthcare delivery today, it can feel like a burden for technicians and care providers to learn and adjust to yet another software product—especially when the manual process seems to get the job done. Highlighting the benefits and advantages that an automated instrument management system brings to the table in terms of patient safety, cost savings, and provider efficiency can help to earn staff buy-in. Benefits related to instrument management automation include:

Cost Savings:
Reduction in lost or missing items, including loaner trays
Reduction in surgical instrument repair
Reduction in scope and power equipment repair and damage
Reduction in CSSD overtime

Reduction in CSSD/OR time spent locating assets
Reduction in assembly time related to reprocessing of equipment & case cart building
Reduction in Loaner Tray management time
Reduction in new hire training
Reduction in scrub technician time related to Immediate Use Steam Sterilization

OR Time:
Reduction in case delays due to tray availability and sterility concerns

3. Convert count sheets to electronic format

When moving from a manual system to an automated solution, a facility’s count sheets will need to be imported into the system. To do this, the count sheet data will need to be put into an electronic format. This process can be as simple as inputting key data into an Excel spreadsheet.

If your count sheets are not in an electronic format, your solution vendor can help you format and import the data. Examples of the type of data to convert are listed below; some items may be recommended but optional, while the ones in bold are usually required.

  • Container name
  • Product name
  • Quantity
  • Sterilization method
  • Procedure
  • Catalog number
  • Supplier
  • Placement
  • Catalog number
  • Supplier
  • Critical items
  • Whether or not substitutions are allowed
  • Bio test required (Y/N)
  • Assembly comments
  • Decontamination comments
  • Physician
  • Home location

Want more tips? Check out our eBook Transitioning from a Manual Process to Automated Instrument Management. We'll give you the full list of checks and balances to ensure your facility is fully prepared for an automated process.

Planning for Automation

Why You Need Automation

Reduce the risk in patient safety, and become more efficient in your workflow process.


Seavy, Rose. Sterile Processing In Healthcare Facilities Preparing for Accreditation Surveys, 2nd Edition, AAMI 2014, 192.