The main challenge for the central sterilization department in many hospitals is ensuring that sterile instrument kits stay sterile. Before the kits even reach the OR, they are generally subject to about ten manual operations—and this doesn’t even include the damage that improper storage can do. There is a significant risk of blue packs for instrument kits sustaining rips, tears, and perforations which then have to be re-sterilized. And if surgery needs to be stopped for re-sterilization, it doesn’t just cost time; it can also cost about $400 per minute that surgery is delayed. The solution, then, is to prevent tears, wet packs, or other causes for desterilization before it happens, and it’s much easier to do than you probably think. You don’t need an entirely new logistics flow…you just need better storage.
A Sterile Logistics Flow Starts with Storage
When prepping instruments for storage, what does your logistics flow look like? The instruments need to be washed, wrapped, then sterilized in an autoclave and transferred to storage until they’re needed. If the kits aren’t stored on a tray with proper ventilation, then the dreaded “wet pack” occurs…and the instruments need to be re-sterilized. Many hospitals use wire shelving that had hard edges that delicate blue paper can easily get caught on and tear…again, the instruments need to be re-sterilized. Due to lack of space, some SPDs stack the kits on top of each other, which can also cause microperforations and tears in the paper…you get the idea.
Storage for Sterile Instrument Kits
The best solution in this case is prevention. A storage system that is breathable (to prevent wet packs), modular, perforation-safe, reduces manual handling operations, and provides a storage space for every pack to prevent the need for stacking. For example, with our new sterile system storage, you can be sure that your instrument kits stay sterile and intact throughout the entire process. And you don’t need to implement the entire system at once; your investments can be rolled out to save on costs, or you can pick and choose which parts of the system you want to use in your SPD.
Dry base instrument baskets: Stainless steel baskets for washing instruments with a permeability of more than 50%, allowing optimum water and steam penetration as well as complete evaporation when dried.
Perforation-safe wire baskets: These baskets come with an anti-slip silicone mat that the kits are then placed on. From the moment that the instrument kits are placed on these baskets, they no longer come into direct contact with hands or shelves until they’re in the OR.
Open or closed transport carts: The wire baskets are then transferred to transport carts, which contains a designated storage space for every basket to eliminate the need for stacking. If you don’t have separate clean and dirty elevators, then we suggest transporting the instrument kits in closed carts to prevent contamination.
Modular storage: A place for everything, and everything in its place. Simply slide the wire basket into one of the columns, and the instrument kit stays sterile and untouched until it reaches the OR.
Contact Us for More Information
Southwest Solutions Group® provides design, installation, and implementation services to all types of hospitals and healthcare departments, and we would love to help you make your logistics flow more efficient. We will also provide you with a free consultation to determine your exact needs and specifications before you commit to anything, so you can be sure that we’re the right team for you. For more information or to speak with a healthcare specialist, call us at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message today.