How One Hospital Transitioned Endoscope Reprocessing To Central Sterile

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), based in Portland, OR, recently underwent a dramatic change in their endoscopy practice with the opening of the new Center for Health & Healing Building 2 (CHH2). As part of the opening, OHSU moved its endoscopy operations to a new building, with the endoscopy department and central sterile department spread across multiple floors.

The new building layout presented challenges to OHSU’s endoscopy and central sterile staff and led to a worry among endoscopy staff that endoscopes would not be adequately reprocessed in the new setup. As this article in Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News explains the transition:

“To reduce staff anxiety, Ms. [Lisa] Newman and Ms. [Christina] Vargas developed a comprehensive transition plan. The plan included the endoscopy staff training the sterile processing staff and implementation of radiofrequency identification (RFID) technology for tracking scope location and adherence to cleaning protocols. The sterile processing staff worked in endoscopy for a year before the transition. In addition, “after hours” scope processing transitioned to Central Sterile a year before the move.

Go-live training included a training video, development of superusers, and a simulation day in the new space before opening. An RFID tracking system was custom designed to provide real- time alerts to breaches. Protocols were developed to respond to and document actions taken when deviations from standards were identified.

The endoscopy staff was surveyed about anxiety at key points throughout the transition. The authors found that by getting to know and working alongside the sterile processing staff, the endoscopy staff was less anxious and more confident in the competency of the central sterile staff. Surprisingly, the relationship building between endoscopy staff and Central Sterile staff had a greater effect on reducing staff anxiety than implementing technology did, the authors noted. Since the transition, there have been no significant breaches in cleaning protocols.

Beginning the implementation process before relocating allowed staff engagement in continuous performance improvement, Ms. Newman and Ms. Vargas concluded. They said they are continuing to collect data on staff anxiety related to breaches in cleaning protocol, possible scope damage and other deviation from standards.”

Read the entire article here: SGNA Poster Highlights: Focus on Infection Control and Reprocessing

As hospitals continue to roll out new ways to minimize the dangers that poorly disinfected endoscopes pose to patients, they must ensure that they’re doing everything they can to protect themselves and their patients from harm. The study at OHSU points out that a major risk factor of reprocessing endoscopes stems from issues with workflow adherence and documentation. Make sure that your staff is following the proper processes and protocols each and every time an endoscope is reprocessed. Systems such as iRIScope, which OHSU used to document their reprocessing protocols using RFID technology, can display the proper workflow for reprocessing endoscopes and document the process electronically. Any breaches of protocol can be discovered in real-time to protect patients and identify which staff members need additional training on reprocessing workflows and techniques. You owe it to your staff and your patients to offer everyone the peace of mind that flexible endoscopes are being properly reprocessed every single time.