There are a lot of ways for hospitals to keep striving toward the sort of efficiencies that make budget balance more nicely. Sometimes, nothing is more important that bringing in the correct tools to aid in OR turnover times without compromising care.
It was precisely those needs that Advanced Sterilization Products (ASP) — part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies — had in mind when they launched the new STERRAD 100NX System with ALLClear Technology earlier this year. The adjustments ASP made to their legacy device are a direct response to feedback from healthcare professionals.
To learn more, Surgical Products interviewed Suneel Shorey, vice president of global marketing with Advanced Sterilization Products (ASP).
When ASP looked at current devices and practices around sterilization of OR instruments, what issues did you see?
ASP has been a market leader in infection prevention for 30 years, ever since the introduction of the STERRAD System’s hydrogen peroxide gas plasma technology revolutionized sterilization. Given our legacy as a pioneer in the industry, healthcare providers around the world have trusted us to provide solutions to help them protect their patients against HAIs.
We’ve gathered thousands of data points and have partnered with customers to understand their needs and solve their everyday challenges. Our research uncovered the following insights:
Keeping patients safe is the highest priority for our customers, yet current workflows allow too much room for human error. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in every 25 hospitalized patients acquires at least one HAI. HAIs cause an estimated 75,000 deaths in the United States per year, with total annual costs amounting to almost $10 billion annually.
Ensuring instruments are properly sterilized is one way healthcare workers can help protect patients from infection. Through our research, we uncovered opportunities to automate steps in the workflow and minimize potential for human error.
Maximizing efficiency is critical to our customers, yet workflow interruptions and delays occur often. CSSDs frequently handle thousands of instruments a day and work under extreme pressure to ensure each one is clean, sterile and properly functioning. Any issues or delays during the sterilization process can cause disruption to operating room schedules and put patients in danger of HAIs. We observed workflow issues causing interruptions and developed new technology to help solve problems causing delays.
In today’s healthcare environment compliance is a crucial focus for our customers, yet many processes and systems are manual. National and regional stakeholders, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Accountable Care Organizations, and the Joint Commission have taken initiatives to lower HAI rates and now provide incentives and impose penalties based on criteria such as HAI prevention performance, quality of care, and review of practices including sterilization.
Our customers work hard to remain compliant and follow hospital protocols, procedures and processes. However, we observed many manual workarounds and knew we needed to provide a solution that automates the workflow and ensures systems talked to each other.
We leveraged these core customer insights to create the next-generation, low-temperature sterilization systems — the STERRAD 100NX and STERRAD NX Systems with ALLClear Technology — which help minimize human error and reduce workflow interruptions by automatically identifying and fixing issues that can cause cycle cancellations. These easy-to-use systems also offer compliance and quality control features and enable easy staff training and operation.
What are some of the unique features of the STERRAD Systems with ALLClear Technology that will improve efficiency?
Efficiency — when supporting potentially life-saving surgeries — is critical, and we developed the new STERRAD Systems with ALLClear Technology to help CSSDs deliver instruments to operating rooms as quickly and as consistently as possible so that doctors and patients have the devices they need, when they need them.
We know that cycle cancellations interrupt workflows and cause delays. The systems help maximize efficiency by minimizing workflow interruptions and offering integrated quality control features.
Our ALLClear Technology, which is more intelligent than technologies available with other systems, automatically monitors conditions, providing pre-sterilization cycle load conditioning, load checks, and system checks to reduce operator error while improving productivity. This process occurs prior to the sterilization cycle and can automatically identify and fix some of the most frequent issues that can cause cycle cancellations.
We designed the STERRAD Systems with ALLClear Technology as simple, easy-to-use systems for fast and easy staff training. The systems feature intuitive, on-screen instructions to simplify system operation, improved display visibility from a distance and the ability to operate the system correctly, reducing the need for other references such as signage posted on or near the system.
When used with ASP ACCESS, a novel smart information-sharing technology, the STERRAD Systems with ALLClear Technology are the only sterilization systems that automatically communicate information between the system and instrument tracking system or hospital network. This integration provides customers with automatic and immediate communication of important sterilizer cycle results and system changes to connected devices.
Further, it provides for optimal efficiency through improved record keeping, by reducing the need for hand-written records. Reducing the requirement of manual record keeping not only helps reduce the potential for human error, but also helps keep data audit-ready and easily accessible.
In addition to maximizing efficiency, productivity and patient safety, ASP is proud that the new STERRAD Systems with ALLClear Technology are designed with the safety of healthcare workers in mind with features including minimized exposure to chemicals.
Studies have also demonstrated that, in comparison to steam sterilizers, the ASP STERRAD Systems are likely to reduce operational costs and environmental impact, including potentially saving hospitals money on instrument repairs and decreasing instrument replacement rate, as well as water consumption and energy savings.
How does this device help with OR turnover?
Our customers play a very important role in the hospital by efficiently sterilizing instruments, redistributing them to the ORs on schedule enabling hospitals to reduce HAI rates and improve patient safety. ASP’s advanced technologies are designed to help avoid catastrophic events due to HAI and to help hospitals achieve their goals.
Customers rely on STERRAD Systems with ALLClear Technology for its ease of operation, fewer cycle cancellations, and intelligent technology that identifies and fixes issues prior to the sterilization cycle helping our customers keep up with the high turnover in the OR.
The simple operation enables customers to easily learn how to use the system and to process instruments more quickly. This streamlined operation minimizes the time staff needs to spend in front of the system, maximizes productivity and allows for faster turnover of instruments to the OR.
What advances in record-keeping does the device provide?
When paired with ASP ACCESS, ASP’s novel, new smart information sharing technology, STERRAD Systems with ALLClear Technology are the only systems that automatically communicate information between the system and instrument tracking system or hospital network. This immediate communication of important sterilizer cycle results and system status changes to connected devices facilitates better compliance and workflow insights.
ASP ACCESS collects, correlates, and communicates information across all connected ASP systems and devices. This unique feature minimizes the need for manual record keeping and reduces the opportunity for human error. Additionally, it keeps the data accessible and ready in the event of an audit.
How does the system balance efficiency with preserving patient safety?
ASP is committed to creating and delivering innovative infection prevention solutions that advance the quality of patient care. The same features of our systems that maximize efficiency are also designed to help preserve patient safety.
Surgical site infections (SSIs) potentially caused by contaminated instruments represent a prevalent and deadly threat to hospitals. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health has identified SSI reduction as a top national priority due to the impact of SSIs on morbidity, mortality, and cost of care. At 22 percent, SSIs are the most common HAIs, and 28 percent of SSIs are related to equipment cleaning and sterilization.
Ensuring instruments are properly sterilized is one way healthcare workers can help reduce the incidences of HAI. Creating systems that are intuitive and easy-to-operate reduces the potential for human error during the sterilization process. Our new STERRAD Systems with ALLClear Technology do just that and are also able to detect and fix issues that may cause workflow interruptions.
How does this device represent a first step in improving OR efficiency? What further innovations do you think are coming in the future?
As a global leader in infection prevention solutions, ASP is committed to designing advanced technologies to help avoid catastrophic events due to HAIs.
New STERRAD Systems with ALLClear Technology help deliver contaminant-free instruments to ORs faster and more consistently than existing STERRAD systems, providing doctors and patients with the devices they need, when they need them. By minimizing workflow interruptions and automating processes, we help CSSD technicians keep up with evolving hospital demands.
STERRAD Systems with ALLClear Technology are the first in a series of innovations we plan to introduce globally in 2017 to help elevate the standard of care in sterilization and build on our heritage.
To address our customer’s first priority for a faster biological indicator, we recently submitted a 510(k) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the ultra-fast STERRAD VELOCITY Biological Indicator (BI) System. Pending clearance, it will be the fastest hydrogen peroxide (H202) BI on the market, using a new, integrated reader to provide automated confirmation — within 30 minutes —that proper sterilization conditions have been achieved when instruments are reprocessed in STERRAD Systems. The STERRAD VELOCITY is not currently available for sale or commercial use in any market.
ASP invented the first hydrogen gas plasma low-temperature sterilizer more than 30 years ago, creating our legacy of leadership in infection prevention and enabling our customers to focus on what they do best every day — preventing infection and saving lives. And we will continue to enhance our offerings to create systems that can work together to help provide customers and patients with safest possible outcomes.
Anything else you’d like to add?
With the increasingly high level of HAIs — approximately 1 in every 25 hospitalized patients according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — it is more critical than ever that we do everything possible to reduce risk and ensure the highest standard of care for our patients.
Hospital Central Sterile Services Departments (CSSDs) and Infection Control Departments play a critical role in improving or preserving the hospital reputation by helping to reduce the incidences of HAIs. ASP is committed to helping them achieve the highest standard of care in sterilization to help ease the financial and emotional costs associated with HAIs.
Today, more than 20,000 STERRAD Systems are installed worldwide, and millions of instruments are processed in our systems every day, benefitting millions of patients every year. ASP is also proud to have more than 23,000 medical device manufacturer endorsements.
We will continue to partner with our customers to advance our suite of technologies developed to provide infection protection solutions and help to avoid catastrophic HAI events, with the ultimate goal of keeping patients safe.