It is difficult not to reflect upon the value of process monitoring when reviewing this week's headlines. From the FDA renewed focus on flexible endoscopes to continued concerns with previously cited facilities and stepped up CMS inspections focused on device reprocessing, the key to any effective process is ongoing monitoring of performance.
This week we are at the SGNA in Indianapolis, and, of course, proper reprocessing of endoscopes is a significant topic. The more general topic of good infection control practice, including environmental surfaces, hand washing, PPE attires, etc., are also widely discussed.
One trend we are hearing more and more about is the transitioning of scope reprocessing responsibilities from GI to the Sterile Processing Department. More and more hospital facilities have determined that the experts in cleaning and disinfection/sterilization are the staff in CS/SPD. One concern related to this however, is the delay in reprocessing that may occur from the point of use to the beginning of thorough cleaning in CS. Manufacturer guidelines typically recommend that reprocessing begin within 30 minutes of use. Sometimes, this is not possible and facilities need to consider how to mitigate the negative effects of delayed cleaning, namely that organics can dry and become extremely difficult to clean. The new Humipak from Healthmark could be a valuable tool in combating this problem (see coupon below).