Category Archives: Daily Blog Posts

Our daily blog posts include: Monday Mash Up, Tuesday Trivia, Watch it on Wednesday, Thursday Thought of the Day, and Gimme Five Friday

APIC’s New Infection Prevention Campaign

This week the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) announced a new campaign to increase educational efforts and increase awareness on the importance of infection prevention. If you haven’t checked out the Infection Prevention and You  website yet, you should right now.

This is a great way for infection prevention professionals to keep both patient and healthcare professionals informed of current infection prevention strategies and patient safety information. One of the things I like best about this site is that it shares advice on what to do at home, work, school, and even on vacation. The new campaign empowers more than just those in the healthcare field to be proactive in preventing infection. When nearly 1.7 million people in the U.S get infections in hospitals while being treated for something else, it takes an army to stop this unnecessary tragedy from happening.

During this time of the government shutdown and the CDC currently out of the office, its great timing for APIC to step up to help. The latest example of the government shutdown effects is the outbreak of salmonella in chicken that has sickened people in 18 states. APIC’s tab called “Your home,” on new site highlights proper cooking techniques to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Show your support in APICS’s infection prevention efforts and share this great infographic with others.

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Filed under Healthcare Acquired Infections, Thursday Thought of the Day, Uncategorized

Superbug CRE Poses Increasing Danger In Hospitals


CRE is a superbug not as commonly known as some others but it is one of the most dangerous threats inside hospitals. Resistant to antibiotics, cases have been found in at least 43 states. Only 9 of the 50 states have mandatory reporting laws for CRE.

Encourage your hospitals to instill aggressive programs now in order to limit further spread. Are you part of a hospital with a plan? We would love to hear how you’re addressing the issue.

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by | 10/09/2013 · 1:32 pm

Is There A Silver Lining To This Government Shutdown?

Last week I mentioned the government shutdown and how it’s affecting the CDC’s workforce, resulting in the furlough of nearly 70% of their employees. Many of those workers were worried about there not being anyone responsible for keeping an eye on the spreading infections and foodborne illnesses as they continue to circulate. As I wrote that article I thought about raising the question about electronic health records (EHR). I wondered why if the new healthcare laws are pushing the use of EHRs to track infections, they aren’t stepping up right now. With the help of President Bush and President Obama, the government has put in place incentives and penalties for adopting a certified EHR by 2014. I’m sure there are many healthcare facilities that are still in the process of adopting these new requirements, but with only a few more months in this year, just how many are left? Wouldn’t that information be a big crutch right now at a time when the CDC is handicapped?

Even though I didn’t end up discussing EHRs, I was happy to read this article on Athenahealth.  The provider of cloud-based services for electronic health records has stepped in to monitor diseases in wake of the government shutdown. According to the article the company’s network includes data from nearly 44,000 medical providers and 40 million patient records across the nation. It is great that during flu season, Athenahealth is monitoring and sharing their findings on the current flu season on their blog. They are sharing their findings on various trends to help the health of the population and look ahead to contributing information.

It seems Athenahealth has leveraged electronic health records to become a silver lining during this time where our politicians can’t seem to come to an agreement. Maybe this will start to give more importance to the electronic sharing of this type of information and allow us to get a better handle on how infections and diseases are spread.

Do you  know of any other examples of silver linings that are shining through during the gloomy time of this shutdown? Comment and let us hear about it.

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by | 10/08/2013 · 10:36 am

What To Do When Someone Asks About Your CSP Job

MRSA Infections in the NFL

“So, what do you do?”

No matter what job you hold, it happens to all of us at some point. The age old question about where you spend  8+ hours, 5 days a week. It’s a talking point at social gatherings and it’s a question that some dread and others wait for. For those that work in Sterile Processing, you probably know what it is like to work in a field area where the average person may not understand what it is you really do all day. I imagine that sometimes when CSP professionals try describing what they do, they are likely to either sell themselves short or make the listener squirm.

So you probably won’t go into details about how you clean off all of the blood and guts that end up on instruments after a surgery.  You certainly won’t mention the smell that you’ve gotten used to or the flattering full body suit you wear every day. That just doesn’t emanate a cool factor. You could tell them that you make sure the surgeons have the instruments they need for each surgery, but you don’t. Because that could come across as a little boring when you’re first meeting somebody.

However, what you should mention is something about how you are a patient advocate. You ensure each and every item that comes out of that room is cleaned, sterilized and disinfected. You make sure that when a patient enters the hospital for an ailment that he isn’t going to wind up with other deadly infections because there was bioburden left on the instrument giving him MRSA or C. diff. You are the one that ensures his safety from infection so he can worry about things like how many days he has to eat that hospital food and how to get the nurses to stop waking you up for testing so you can get some sleep.

Show him this video so he knows just how important your job is, because the more people that realize the value of what you do, the more attention will spread towards the importance of infection prevention.

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Filed under Healthcare Acquired Infections, Surgical Instrument Cleaning, Thursday Thought of the Day, Uncategorized

Is “Looking Clean” Enough?

How do you know your hospital is clean? How do you know something is free of bioburden? Don’t make assumptions because it “looks clean”. The MediCount ATP Testing Device allows you to objectively measure the cleanliness level of a surface or an instrument based on what YOU define as “clean”. Clean should be a result, not a process.

The MediCount ATP Testing Device Provides a Way to Quantify “Clean”. The device provides a numerical reading in less than 30 seconds and provides a quantitative measurement representing the amount of organic material present on a surface. Read More

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by | 10/02/2013 · 1:29 pm

5 Ways To Save Time In Sterile Processing

One of the complaints we hear most often from Central Sterile Processing Departments is that there are too many instruments to clean and not enough time. Surgeries are delayed, instruments pass through unclean and SPD workers get frustrated. Too much responsibility falls on this department to have them feeling this way. This is what it looks like when technicians don’t have proper time and tools to properly clean each instrument.

Dirty Surgical Tools

Interior Lumen AFTER Sterilization

1.) Flush and Brush Station

The daVinci instruments used in robotic surgeries do phenomenal things but they also create a lot of hassle for technicians. Instruments get lost, they are hard to clean and difficult to keep altogether. This station from Midbrook Medical sits in the base of the sink and helps technicians keep track of what has been scrubbed already and prevents instruments from contaminating each other. Read More flush and brush 1

2.) Recipe Baskets

These recipe baskets were designed to help central sterile processing techinican’s ability to efficiently follow the Instructions for Use to reprocess full recipe sets of da Vinci Robotic Surgery. Instruments can be transferred from the Flush and Brush Station to the recipe baskets for the Midbrook Ultrasonic Bath. Like the Flush and Brush Station, the baskets are designed to keep surgical sets together during reprocessing allowing CSPD Technicians to reprocess recipe sets for each surgical procedure in a more efficient manner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3.) The Tempest Surgical Instrument Washer

One of the reasons the Tempest is on the list is because of its automation. With the push of a button the lid comes down and runs a programmable cycle to bring repeatable results.  This instrument washer uses a combination of high-powered, tested, and proven washing actions: ultrasonics, enzymatic soaks, agitation, exterior and interior sprays, and air injection bubble cavitation stream. The instruments are cleaned effectively far surpassing AAMI standards. Just think of what you could accomplish in SPD during this automated 30 minute cleaning cycle.tempestbanner400x289

4,) The UV Flash

Sometimes accidents happen, even in hospitals. What happens when instruments get dropped? Well the good news is that problem can be solved. In 60 seconds. The UV Flash uses UVC light to disinfect objects. All bacteria on the surface of an object will be eliminated by using this station.


5.) Less Repeat (O.K. I know this isnt a product but it’s true!)

Since you’re using the Tempest surgical instrument washer, instruments are being cleaned more effectivly. Since more clean instruments are making their way into the hands of surgeons, less unclean instruments are making the trip back to sterile processing. Sometimes instruments come out of SPD with bio-burden on them so visable that surgeons send them back before even using them. This creates more work for technicians that is really unnecessary. If you do things right the first time, you won’t have to do it again. At least until after the surgery….

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Filed under Gimme Five Friday, Surgical Instrument Cleaning, Ultraviolet light to fight bacteria, Uncategorized

Should You Care What Your Doctor Looks Like?

Infection Prevention

Infection Prevention

Have you ever gone into a business meeting wearing a suit and noticed the guy on the other end of the table is wearing a polo shirt? Or have you seen someone at the pool on a beautiful 90 degree day in long sleeves black pants?  I sure have and it makes me wonder about the difference between expectations and common sense.

It has been engrained in our heads that certain situations call for a certain type of apparel.  We expect in a business environment everyone will dress for a business meeting. We expect that at the pool, you wear your beach apparel. Yet other times its just plain common sense to dress a certain way.  Why dress in all black when the sun is so hot and its such a beautiful day?

Medical facilities are going through these questions as well. Traditionally doctors have donned the long white coat and tie. So that’s what we’ve grown to expect of them. A nice clean look makes the doctor appear professional and therefore respected as an an athority on your health. But does this coat and tie approach follow common sense?

When we stop to think about it, that coat and tie goes from room to room, seeing sick patient after sick patient. Yet it isn’t disinfected between seeing each patient. It probably isn’t even disinfected between each day either. If you really want to get the heebie-jeebies, think about the last time you’ve washed your tie. Some would even admit to, “never.”

There have been nation-wide hospital policies surrounding this issue. Should we ditch the professional physician attire? It should help decrease the spread of harmful infections, but would you take your doctor as serious if he was in kahki’s and a button up? Some resident students have even started attending clinicals wearing jeans! Yet just because you ditch the coat and tie for something else doesn’t mean you’re transmitting less germs. It might however, be more likely to be washed.

Which way would you vote? The professional attire that you expect that comandeers respect or the attire that might be disinfected more regularly and spread less bacteria? I think that is a tough question. Either way we vote, it’s an indication that therein lies some responsibility on the physician to take a pro-active approach to work attire. Dressing professionally should not only encompass the look of their attire but the level of cleanliness as well.

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Filed under Healthcare Acquired Infections, Thursday Thought of the Day, Uncategorized