Three Important Tips To Consider When Running An Effective Sterile Processing Department

Sterile processing has a lot of steps, procedures, and rules which must be followed in order to maintain a perfect sterile environment in hospitals across the globe. 

Any sterile processing department (SPD) needs technicians to not only follow these procedures, but do them efficiently and well enough to pass even the most strict guidelines for the health and safety of not only the patients but the staffers as well. 

In addition to cleaning surfaces and tools through technical processes, technicians also have to prepare, package, and then sterilize any and all the devices. This also runs in conjunction with the technicians having to keep up with the ever increasing demand for the services – especially since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Hospitals clean and sterilize medical devices in a sterile processing department (SPD). Technicians thoroughly clean soiled devices through manual and mechanical processes. They then prepare, package, and sterilize the devices.




Use these tips to run an efficient sterile processing department.


Educate and Train Staff

SPD technicians undergo training and often earn certification to adequately perform their jobs. However, managers should periodically take time to identify gaps in understanding that technicians and other staff members may have. Knowledge gaps create delays that your SPD can overcome with the right training.

If your SPD doesn’t have a formal training program, create one. Address the processes of cleaning, packaging, and sterilizing devices. Also, explain best practices regarding restocking, labeling, and maintaining inventory.


Schedule Staff Based on Hospital Demand

Are you making the most of your staff’s time? The next tip for an efficient sterile processing department is to create staff schedules based on hospital demands for your finished product.

Consider the times of day that demand the highest volume of processed items and modify tech shifts as needed. During highly hectic times, you can ease the burden on SPD staff by adding a runner who retrieves equipment and supplies so techs do not need to leave their workstations.


Assess Equipment

Finally, assess your facility’s cleaning and sterilizing equipment to make sure everything is in top condition. You should adhere to a maintenance schedule to catch small issues and prevent major problems as much as possible; improper maintenance is one of the top causes of autoclave sterilization failure.

Don’t let unusable equipment accumulate in your SPD and take up valuable space. If repairing the equipment is not possible or worth the resources, consider selling your equipment to another facility or third-party vendor. New or upgraded equipment can improve efficiency and performance in your SPD.