Central Sterilizing Services facility update: Instrument processing, care, and handling

Even though the new Central Sterilizing Services (CSS) facility isn’t scheduled to open until spring of 2020 on the Oakdale campus in Coralville, many multi-disciplinary teams have begun working to refine processes and enhance workflows.

Perioperative services project teams implemented new standards aimed at improving the reliability of instrument sets provided to the operating rooms. Metrics have been established and are monitored for trends on a regular basis with the goal of providing the right instruments, in the right condition, at the right time—each and every time. Many processes continue to be evaluated from instrument pre-cleaning at point-of-use, tray standardization across the enterprise, and instrument handling and delivery throughout the system. This analysis and implementation started with the ORs but has since transitioned to clinics, inpatient units, and procedural areas.

Operational changes

Due to recent changes in regulations (FDA), standards (AAMI), and guidelines (AORN), there will be upcoming operational changes. These changes include:

  1. In-house Ethylene Oxide (EO) sterilization will be eliminated by June 2019 to transition to other sterilization methods. No new instrumentation should be purchased if EO is the only sterilization method indicated on the device instruction for use (IFU); alternate items should be identified.
  2. By December 2019, UI Hospitals & Clinics Central Sterilizing Services will be transitioning out of high-level disinfection (HLD) for instruments (i.e., laryngoscope and CMAC blades) where sterilization options are indicated in the device instruction for use (IFU). To obtain the highest quality of instrument delivery, we need to ensure consistency in sterilization and reprocessing methods.
  3. The in-house reprocessing of single-use disposable products will be eliminated by June 2019. Any single-use disposable products should now be purchased pre-packaged sterile. Any existing single-use disposable product should be converted to pre-packaged sterile or discontinued.

If your area is affected and you have concerns, please reach out. We have been working with unit leadership and want to ensure everyone has the same message. We may also be able to help identify solutions and educate staff as needed.

The short-term benefits of this holistic approach to quality improvements is a smooth transition to the new facility. But the long-term gains include ensuring the safest and most efficient practices that will work with all of UI Health Care’s patient care facilities. We will be providing regular updates on our progress toward these goals throughout the year and welcome any participation and feedback. Thank you for your support!

More information

Questions? Contact Ben Hall, Perioperative Services director, at ben-hall@uiowa.edu or 319-356-7757.

Read more about the facility from the groundbreaking announcement in October, including a rendering, map, and live feed of construction.