Today’s Sterile Processing Department (SPD) managers function as business operators whose primary objective is to adhere to the highest standards of cleaning protocols. Their role is to focus not only on adherence to disinfection standards and requirements, but to operate with high speed and efficiency as well. Specific to endoscopic procedures, a critical requirement for SPD managers is making sure scopes are available when needed. Lack of scope availability can create tension between SPD managers and clinicians, making a well-planned and properly staffed SPD department critical.
Recently, Mobile Aspects worked with a major academic health system on the West Coast of the United States. In 2019, the hospital built out a new Endoscopy suite that included 6 procedure rooms and a scope reprocessing facility spread across different floors of a new outpatient procedure building. As a provider of robust data analytics, Mobile Aspects worked with the customer to evaluate the efficiency of the new area’s scope reprocessing workflow. During a recent quarterly business review, the customer and Mobile Aspects agreed that there were identifiable opportunities to improve the flow of endoscopes within the department.
There are several key factors that determine how quickly scopes are reprocessed inside the endoscope usage lifecycle. Looking closely at the scope reprocessing workflow within the new department, Mobile Aspects and the customer determined that scopes were quickly sent up to SPD to begin reprocessing post-procedure. It typically took only 15 minutes for a scope to reach the SPD department to begin the high-level disinfection process. However, once scopes were loaded into the automated endoscope reprocessor (AER), the time until a scope was unloaded was approximately 160 minutes. With the washing process typically averaging 30 minutes, it meant scopes were sitting in the washer waiting to be returned to clean storage for over 2 hours on average.
The customer identified the source of the issue as insufficient personnel. Though adding a full-time employee was seen as the obvious solution, this was not immediately possible due to budgetary constraints. The SPD managers then decided to allocate temporary resources throughout the day to tackle this issue. When the data analytics were reviewed just 3 months following the updated workflow, the reprocessing time decreased to an average of 105 minutes.
The iRIScope system from Mobile Aspects was designed to ensure hospitals follow a standardized reprocessing cycle for flexible endoscopes while automatically documenting each step along the way. In doing so, iRIScope gathers numerous data points which allow hospitals to continuously monitor their workflows and make improvements to efficiency and patient safety. Contact us today to see how we can help improve and automate your endoscope reprocessing workflows and bring an environment of continuous improvement to your practice.