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COVER STORY


Turning Best Practices into Processes


O’Connell says she counts about 25 important changes from ST79:2013 to ST79:2017.


While this figure


might look overwhelming, AAMI has restructured its new guide to help with implementation of new standards. “The guide uses stem sentences, i.e., the beginning of sentences, directives in the form of bullets and then provides the rationale behind why you are asked to follow standards,” she says. “This approach turned what was a somewhat confusing document and made it into a guide that the most seasoned tech- nician to the newest infection control officer and anyone else in an ASC can dive into and should be able to follow.” ST79 is designed to clearly spell out the processes an ASC should fol- low, O’Connell says. “The document


ST79 is a vital source of proven practices that help coach us through the many processes we must perform to keep patients and staff safe.”


— Clay Landry, Saratoga Surgery Center


is written in sequential order, from the time a case ends, the type of envi- ronment that should be in place and what needs to happen when instru- ments arrive. Take the document and physically walk through your processes, making changes so what you are doing in your center aligns with ST79.”


Be aware of subtle changes between the ST79 editions, Coss says. This includes changes in ter- minology. For example, chemical indicators now have six different “types,” whereas they were previ- ously described as “classes.” “When I speak with clients, many are tripped up when I now say type,’” she says. To help ensure you maintain com- pliance with ST79, Landry encour- ages ASCs to assess how they value and assist the individuals tasked with sterile processing. “Pay them appro- priately and give them the support they need.”


Coss adds, “When I managed a sterile processing department, I made education a priority and got all of my staff certified. Investing in your people is monumentally impor- tant to your success.”


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14 ASC FOCUS JUNE/JULY 2020 | ascfocus.org


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