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Digital Issues

Archive >  August, 2014 XV, No. 8

Time for a Clean Break from Your Old Washers?

Experts weigh in on some key factors to consider.

Jim Burger, Associate Editor

instrument washers OLD RELIABLE? Are your washers keeping up with increased throughput demands?

Instrument washers are workhorses, churning out load after load for years. Resources are always tight, so as long as your washers are doing the job, chances are you’re in no hurry to upgrade or replace them. But are your washers really meeting your needs? Would an upgrade help you do more for less, spur efficiency and ultimately pay for itself fairly quickly? Or maybe that workhorse is on its last legs and you expect to be in the market soon.

For help sorting through the sales pitches and promises, we talked to 2 experts from ECRI Institute, an independent, nonprofit healthcare research organization in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., about what factors they think are true game-changers when it comes to washers, and about some traps to avoid. If you’re thinking about an upgrade, here are 5 factors to consider.

number 1Energy efficiency
All manufacturers are trying to be more environmentally savvy, developing more and more ways to save water and electricity. “Resource conservation is No. 1, right now,” says Debra Ann Maleski, MBA, a senior healthcare consultant at ECRI.

“You’ll see if you go to vendor websites, everybody’s going green,” says Christopher Schabowsky, PhD, ECRI’s program manager for group purchasing organizations. “The LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Initiative is out front, encouraging facilities to think green. It’s a big, step-by-step process, so a lot of manufacturers are trying to tailor their offerings to fit with the initiative.”

For example, some washers offer shorter cycles based on the kinds of instruments or the number of instruments being cleaned. Newer machines can adjust resource allocation accordingly and “save substantial money on operating costs,” says Ms. Maleski. Instead of running a full cycle when you don’t need to, just set the washer for a quarter load or a half load and start saving. Some automatically adjust, based on the size of the load.

 
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