I'm not a regular follower of the CSI shows on TV, but once in awhile I'll catch myself watching one. There is always a great storyline that keeps my attention throughout the show. I think one of the most fascinating things about it, is the impressive equipment they bring out to verify DNA to prove their theories.
The equipment reminded me how optical equipment is used more frequently in the Central Supply because of the challenges that are presented with consistently reprocessing surgical instruments and equipment properly.
Many facilities have incorporated a magnifying glass at each workstation to enhance their ability to check instruments. Per the AAMI Guidelines, "Verification of a cleaning process consists of ... the most common method is a visual inspection, sometimes involving the use of a lighted magnifying glass... (AAMI ST 79 D.1 General Considerations).
The purpose of using optical equipment at each workstation is to allow the CSSD professional to inspect the instrument for irregularities like burrs on the tip of a scissor and it can help identify stains as well.
Magnifying glasses and other optical equipment have many benefits (i.e., tilting lenses, lights, size, various magnification power, etc.). Some can now be hooked up to a computer by a simple USB port and a picture can be taken and saved to be viewed later.
The magnifying glass also enhances the CSSD technician's ability to spot stains. Stains come in all sizes, shapes and intensity. Sometimes a stain can appear quite benign or may not be easily detected by the human eye; the magnifying glass enhances the ability of the technician to pick up stains.
Identifying the type of stain is also very important. If a stain or any residue has been found, the CSSD professional may want to use a hemoglobin test to detect if any blood protein is found. If the test is positive for blood, it allows technicians to check their cleaning process to see why blood was left on the instrument.
Incorporating a simple optical inspection process can help include a CSI department in your CSSD and ensure cleaning verification when inspecting instruments.