You could say that Sterile Processing is the science of minimizing risk. Carefully following IFUs, reducing bio-burden, monitoring process parameters minimize the risk that viable microorganisms will survive and potentially be transferred to the next patient awaiting care. However, even in the best processing departments errors can occur. If a processing step is skipped or improperly performed, the risk of microorganism survival increases. However, when retained moisture due to inadequate drying is added to the equation, the risk of a hospital acquired infection is increased. Microorganism survival from processing errors plus regrowth due to retained moisture is a perfect storm.
By definition, sterilization is not an absolute rather seeks to deliver a Sterility Assurance Level (SAL) of 10-6, meaning that, post-sterilization, the chance of an instrument being non-sterile is <1 in 1,000,000. Even in the ideal scenario the risk is not zero, because you cannot eliminate risk entirely. Now consider the possibility that a cleaning step was sub-par (brushing time, water temperature, detergent concentration or inadequate rinsing) for any number of reasons or that initial bio-burden levels were much higher than normal. How can that affect the final outcomes? And what can happen when moisture is present post-sterilization? Moisture creates the perfect environment for microorganisms to flourish.
Controlling this one factor, eliminating moisture from your sterilized packs and containers, goes a long way toward keeping patients safe. No amount of residual moisture is acceptable when patient safety is on the line. That’s why fast drying SteriTite® containers are a critical success factor in the sterile processing process. In independent laboratory testing, SteriTite® solid bottom were completely dry in eight minutes and SteriTite® perforated bottom containers were completely dry in five minutes. And we have the FDA 510(k) clearance to support that statement.
SteriTite® Universal Sealed Containers can achieve these faster dry times because of superior materials and engineering: aircraft grade, anodized aluminum for better heat conductivity; a patented perforation pattern for better ventilation; and a precision manufacturing process that ensures a proper fit between the lid and base even after years of continuous use. Simply crack the door and use our paper filters. Control what you can, because your patients are counting on you.
Marcia Frieze, CEO, and the Case Medical Team