If you had to identify the “heart” of your clinical practice, where would it be located? It’s easy to think about this on a more technical level, perhaps to the closet that houses the hard drive and servers for your practice network. However, that’s the “brain” of your practice, not necessarily the heart. Let’s rephrase the question: What is the area of your office that serves as the lifeblood of your clinical practice, by ensuring the health and well-being of your staff and patients? The answer becomes much clearer: the sterilization area.
If instruments do not efficiently flow into and out of your sterilization area, the rest of the practice suffers. As defined by the infection control specialists at SciCan, the purpose of your sterilization center is to improve safety, ensure predictable results, maximize efficiency, and maintain compliance. Each one of these steps is important and can’t be overlooked—they must be “kept up to spec.” In fact, SciCan developed the acronym SPEC, so that practices could easily remember the most important components.
“S” is for Safe
Safety extends beyond preventing sharps exposure to containing biologically contaminated fluids and aerosols generated by open-lid ultrasonic cleaning and cold sterile solutions. Dental instruments should be processed in the safest and most efficient way possible to reduce the risk of staff injury and the costs associated with exposure incidents.
“P” is for Predictability
Having clean, sterile, and dry instruments ready to go when you need them helps to avoid delays and interruptions in your clinical workflow. Contaminated instruments should flow through the reprocessing steps in your sterilization area quickly and consistently every time. According to SciCan, automation, redundancy, and reliability are the 3 keys to ensuring this happens.
“E” is for Efficient
Speed applies to the way instruments flow through your office and sterilization area as well as the equipment used to reprocess instruments. Wherever possible, manual labor should be eliminated so that the staff can focus on tasks that can’t be automated, such as operatory cleanup and preparation.
“C” is for Compliant
It’s imperative that instrument reprocessing meets or exceeds federal and state infection control requirements. Infection-control violations can have a devastating impact on your practice’s reputation and finances. The easiest way to make sure you maintain compliance is to design your sterilization area with compliance in mind.
In the diagram below, SciCan presents a sterilization area that’s up to SPECs. Let’s discuss each area and some of SciCan's equipment and products that can help dental offices become more efficient while maintaining compliance.
Instrument receiving, cleaning, and decontamination takes place in Step 1. SciCan’s STATMATIC automatic handpiece maintenance unit simplifies the maintenance process by properly cleaning, lubricating, and purging handpieces prior to sterilization. OPTIM 1 Wipes remove organic debris while disinfecting with the active ingredient hydrogen peroxide. StatClean is an ultrasonic cleaning unit with a 1.6-gallon tank and convenient self-docking lid that holds a variety of instruments. HYDRIM L110W G4 and HYDRIM C61W G4 instrument washers ensure instruments are properly and consistently cleaned.
After preparation and packaging, the BRAVO chamber autoclave balances speed and capacity. STATIM G4 is a fast cassette autoclave and its patented steam process makes it gentle on instruments.
Learn more about SciCan’s SPECs at www.scican.com/us/scicanspec.