When done properly and strategically, central sterile planning can impact your facility in a positive way, leading to greater efficiency and cost savings. When it’s done poorly—or neglected altogether for a quicker, faster solution—facilities often end up with sterile processing departments that drain labor budgets, are incapable of meeting demand, or function without the tools and processes needed to ensure patient safety.

Whether you’re building a brand new SPD, considering consolidating several different departments, or simply making updates to your current SPD, strategic central sterile planning should be your first step. 

Here are a few key areas to evaluate as you start your planning:

Your Facility’s Needs

Start by getting a clear picture of your facility’s needs. This sets the stage for everything that comes after: what kind of tools you need, what type of space will best accommodate those tools, and how much staffing is required to meet the need. Take the time to understand operating room schedules, the flow of instruments, and periods of influx so you can make data-driven decisions through the next steps of your planning process. 

Your Tools

Now that you’ve identified your department needs, what tools do you require to best process all of those instruments? Evaluate all of your equipment options. With so many different washers and sterilizers on the market, make sure you choose the ones that are not only the best for your budget but are also the best for your entire department. 

You can also use this step to consider items like vendor loaners and choose between containers and wrapping. Weigh the pros and cons of each tool to consider how it would impact your technicians, time to the OR, and, most importantly, the safety of your patients. 

Your Space 

Next, you need to evaluate your space. Is the available space designed for optimal throughput? Can it accommodate the tools you chose in the previous step? Does the flow make sense for smooth processing or will technicians end up bumping into each other during high volume times? This step can reveal a need for a different space—sometimes smaller, sometimes larger.  

Your Staff  

As you consider staff needs, keep in mind that you’ll need different staffing for different times of the day. What kind of technicians do you currently have? What areas or specialties are you lacking? Is the volume of work too much or too little for certain team members? Make sure you’re staffed to meet the demand without being overstaffed and putting a strain on your facility’s labor budget.


Your Central Sterile Planning

Central sterile planning can be a huge undertaking whether you’re doing it for the first time or once again trying to improve your current department. If you need an expert to walk alongside you, our team at Censis would be happy to assist you.

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