Reprocessing compliance is “all about time,” according to a recent episode of the Beyond Clean podcast.
Instructions for use, be they from endoscope or chemical manufacturers, involve time requirements that sterile processing technicians must fulfill. To that end, Beyond Clean recently issued five tips for “winning the race against the reprocessing clock.”
Technicians must rely on more than their biological clock to adhere to time requirements, according to the episode. And they won’t be able to confirm adherence without a clear line of sight to a timer. Nearly all components to the process have time requirements attached.
Dangers of biofilm formation are “always lurking,” according to Beyond Clean, and being aware of the elapsed time for contaminated devices not yet processed is critical. If technicians can not reprocess immediately, additional pre-treatments may be needed.
Soak time is an operative function imperative for chemicals to break down existing bioburden. According to the podcast, technicians must be aware of the different soak times in instructions for use that chemical and medical device manufacturers may present.
It is likely each of the above steps has its own time requirement assigned in the IFUs, in which many additionally say to visually inspect after the instructed time elapsed. Then, repeat if necessary.
Beyond Clean reminds the listener that stated times are minimum requirements.
Ultrasonic is not “a magic box that will work regardless of the length of cycle or type of instrument placed inside.” These, too, have device specific time requirements linked to FDA-approved cleaning validations.
Single-use endoscopes remove the need for reprocessing as scopes are used once and discarded — ensuring a brand new, sterile device for every patient.