Sterile processing department

Prevention Strategies

What Makes a Good Reprocessor? One Trait Stands Out Above All Else

"There can be 100-plus steps for cleaning these scopes and we want to make sure that we hit every single one of them."

One trait stands out above all else to Damon Miles in assessing a quality endoscope reprocessing technician.

“Cleaning these flexible endoscopes is no easy task. It is tedious. The thing I look for above all else is the attention to detail,” the sterile processing department educator at Stanford Medicine Children's Health, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital said on a recent episode of the Beyond Clean podcast. “There can be 100-plus steps for cleaning these scopes and we want to make sure that we hit every single one of them. That, to me, is the most important.”

Miles was a guest on the episode entitled “The Twists & Turns of Scope Quality: A Guided Reprocessing Journey.” That close attention to detail, he added, goes beyond the physical cleaning of reusable endoscopes.

“Along the lines with the cleaning comes the documentation,” he said. “It has to be complete and accurate, and I think that attention to detail carries over to the paperwork as well.”

Miles addressed the critical “golden hour” in reprocessing, in which bedside cleaning must occur to avoid additional steps brought on by delayed reprocessing. His sterile processing department utilizes a strict tracking system in which every scope is timestamped immediately upon its arrival.

Miles believes in cross-training technicians — a fundamental instilled in him by a past football coach.

“My college football coach used to preach the next-man-up mentality,” he said. “While I do love having certain technicians specialize and doing individual tasks, what do you do when they get hurt or they get sick or they go on vacation? You need to be able to have everybody able to be plugged in.”

Listen to the complete episode here, where Miles also addresses:

  • Educating staff on the exorbitant cost of flexible endoscopes
  • Important of educating everyone involved in all areas of endoscopy on the role they play in the reprocessing cycle
  • Common issues occurring in transport of scopes
  • His vision of an idyllic sterile processing department


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