The shoe is pinching and it’s time for a change!

The task for Central Sterile Processing Departments (CSSD) in Hospitals is a daunting one. Changing healthcare technology and regulatory landscape bring various challenges. Take job complexity for instance: CSSD probably deals with more line items than some retail outlets. Each line item has its own SOP, its own assembling instruction, its own care instructions. And yet, all of this is handled manually!

Go to regulation next. Audits are a never-ending part of life in a hospital now and each audit requires reconstruction of events, opening sterile packs, answering questions about where instruments or sets are, measuring processes. By some estimates, annual audits take upwards of 3 months in some cases.

Coming to environment – The department spends copious amounts of time in coordination, talking to users, rushing instruments because surgeon is not happy. Stressful and unpredictable would be one way to describe it.

At the core of it all, our departments are as good as the people manning them. In CSSD especially, owing to hardly any adoption of systems, processes are very person dependent and this creates further issues. By one estimate, new employees are only 25% as productive as the average CSSD technician even six months after hire and turnover is a given in the industry.

There is no doubt in my mind that CSSD is ripe for technology and also, technology is ripe for CSSD.

However, any new system will need to start with a cultural change?

It will mean disruption to the way of working. It will mean transparency and throwing light on issues that have not been measured so far. It will mean definite pain in the short run.

Is the organization geared for it? Every successful IT implementation must have its mascot, a flag bearer who genuinely believes in it and will be the ambassador to bring everyone else on board.

We have to be convinced that this change is good. It is going to make CSSD a professional department and improve your outcomes as a team. It will also mean adaptation of the process to bring it in line with the system, not the other way around.

It’s only when you are enthusiastic about change, that change will come and it will be positive.

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