Sterile Processing and Endoscope Reprocessing
Sterile Processing, aka SPD or CSSD, is the heart of the hospital, ensuring that vital instruments are cleaned and sterilized sagely and available for use when needed. With such an important emphasis on productivity and quality control, safety is always top of mind.
The sterilant chemicals used in your work are a vital component of productivity and patient safety which need to be managed accordingly. Properly maintained and operated, low temperature sterilizers and endoscope re-processors ensure that patients are not exposed to contaminated instruments that can cause infection. However, machines and systems can fail. Monitoring allows for early detection of leaks. This is important for the safety of both your patients and your employees.
Continuous monitoring as part of your Quality Control (QC) program provides another layer of safety and validation. Just like equipment must be revalidated after an aborted cycle, monitoring the air allows for process and quality control.
Leaks can also pose a safety risk to employees. Technicians that work around high concentrations of chemical sterilants day in and day out are at increased risk of exposure. There are also many misconceptions about sterilant gases/vapors. For example, many people hold the unfounded belief that the hydrogen peroxide used for healthcare sterilization is the same as the hydrogen peroxide you can buy in at the grocery store. That is not the case. In fact, hydrogen peroxide is used in more concentrated doses for these purposes, and there are a number of health risks users should be aware of.
With advances in sterilization technology, technicians are now processing equipment multiple times per day, with more concentrated sterilants than previously used. This increases the potential for exposure and increases wear and tear on machines, making monitoring vapor levels an essential safety practice. Ethylene Oxide, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Peracetic Acid all have Occupational Exposure Limits. The best way to ensure you stay within those limits is with continuous monitoring.