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September 22, 2015

Three Ideas to Increase Quality in Sterile Processing

The Sterile Processing Department is an integral—yet often overlooked—cog in the well-oiled machine that is your hospital. However, what happens when this department experiences breakdowns in operational efficiency and quality? The quality of the entire hospital is put at risk: SSI rates may rise, surgeons may become disgruntled when case carts and/or instruments are not correct, and patient satisfaction scores may ultimately decrease.

If you’re experiencing any issues within your Sterile Processing Department, you may want to consider taking action and implementing new initiatives to address these concerns. We have put together a short list of three interventions to start your improvement projects.

1. Standardize case carts

If you have case carts that vary in design and are in poor working condition, shift your case cart standards to carts that are ergonomically designed and have similar dimensions, but will also continue to meet the procedural needs of the operating room.

2. Assess and identify competency gaps of SPD technician staff

Do many of your staff members seem to lack knowledge regarding instrument identification, instrument cleaning procedures, and standard work processes? Our team, for example, has remedied similar competency issues with the following action items:

  • Redefining job descriptions
  • Developing job instruction procedures
  • Utilizing preceptors to re-train individuals and fill competency gaps
  • Deploying training programs

3. Recruit new staff members where needed

Identify FTE gaps across your health systems/facilities. To address these shortages, consider working with a third party to recruiting the majority of needed FTEs and fill any remaining positions with experienced agency staff to assist until new staff members are fully trained.

Next Steps

To learn about three more interventions and other ideas you can implement to improve the quality and operational efficiency of your Sterile Processing Department, take advantage of Soyring’s free Sterile Processing Quality & Operational Improvement Initiatives download. We will also show you how these ideas resulted in a 97 percent decrease in critical tray defects at a multi-site health system.

If you would like to learn more about how Soyring can help implement similar initiatives or develop custom solutions for your organization, call us today at 866-345-3887 or contact us through our online form.

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