Archive August 2019 XX, No. 8

Infection Prevention: 10 Sterile Processing Benchmarks

Measure your department's performance with these key indicators.

Weston "Hank" Balch

Weston "Hank" Balch, CRCST, CIS, CHL


REPROCESSING QUALITY Is your sterile processing department hitting these 10 benchmarks?

Besides the occasional complaint about incomplete sets or late-arriving trays, how can an OR manager grade the sterile processing department’s performance? We’ve got you covered with 10 simple-to-measure benchmarks your SPD should hit.

1 Total cycle times
There’s no better way to measure the speed and productivity of SPD workflow than total cycle times. This metric tracks the time it takes a surgical tray to go from the first scan into the decontamination area, through the cleaning, inspection, assembly, packaging, sterilization and cooling process. While some of this time is equipment-dependent — such as a 32-minute washer cycle versus one that’s 1 hour and 15 minutes — this measurement also captures the speed of your manual cleaning, inspection and assembly process to give you a good sense of the true speed of flow through your department.

2Unprocessed trays at 7 a.m.
This indicator will cue you into potential volume versus staffing misalignments, as it measures the number of trays from the previous surgical day that are still sitting unprocessed at 7 a.m. While a high number of trays left over in the morning does not necessarily mean staffing is insufficient — especially if you have an overnight shift— it might signal you to take a closer look at your overall process.

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