2016 has come to an end and it’s time to reflect. As part of the disinfection and sterilization industry we have been following industry related news, shared on our blog in our monthly news updates. These are, in our opinion, the most important or interesting news for 2016:
Probably the biggest story of the year is the failure in some hospital Sterile Processing Departments (SPDs) to follow disinfection and sterilization guidelines. This has happened in Detroit, Washington, and Oregon, to name a few, and there are more.
OregonLive – 05 April, 2016
The hospital discovered gaps in its sterilization documentation in late February.
CBS Detroit – 19 September, 2016
Records show state regulators who cited the Detroit Medical Center for lax compliance failed to find problems with dirty surgical instruments during an inspection last year.
The Detroit News – 28 October, 2016
Reports, emails show years-long problem putting patients at risk.
Instruments are becoming more specialized and complicated, which have also caused challenges in sterilization. During 2016 there were several cases of infection due to improper disinfection of gastrointestinal scopes:
Masslive.com – 22 January, 2016
The hospital has notified colonoscopy patients that the scopes used in their procedures may not have been properly disinfected.
Los Angeles Times – 15 May, 2016
Several studies and media reports have linked outbreaks of multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs) to endoscopes without any findings of reprocessing breaches.
This failure brought on the lawsuits against scope manufacturers:
Lawyersandsettlments.com – 28 November, 2016
While patients and doctors ask who is responsible for the endoscope infections that have reportedly led to multiple deaths in the past three years, officials have taken medical centers and medical device makers to task for putting the public health at risk.
One solution was to make disposable scopes:
Los Angeles Times – 20 December, 2016
In response to a series of superbug outbreaks around the country, some doctors and hospitals are trying out disposable scopes to combat the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The reported sterilization failures of medical instruments have many different reasons but one that emerged in all cases is the need for certified technicians. Sterile Processing Departments (SPD/CSSD) are the single most important entity in the prevention of hospital infection. Hospitals are standing up and taking notice of a historically overlooked profession. Hospitals requiring techs to be certified raises the bar for the profession, attracting more qualified candidates, reducing departmental turnover and hopefully increasing salaries. We can already see that SPD techs are becoming better problems solvers.
Memphis Business Journal – 21 April, 2016
A new law that will be signed soon by Gov. Bill Haslam will make Tennessee the fourth state in the U.S. to require sterile processing employees in hospitals to be certified.
Infection Control Today – 19 April, 2016
In light of the recent news articles making headlines in regard to improperly sterilized reusable medical devices, the issue of requiring certification of Central Service (CS) technicians has become more important than ever.
Another positive trend is that tray packaging is going from wrapped to rigid containers.
Outpatient Surgery Magazine – 01 February, 2016
Did you know that the staple of sterilization known as "blue wrap" may soon be virtually extinct, elbowed aside by more cost-effective and more green-conscious rigid containers? That's definitely the trend.
Hospitals have been focusing on instrument tracking systems:
RFID Journal – 22 May, 2016
RFID can improve patient safety and deliver cost savings to hospitals.
We don’t predict the future, but we definitely follow it. As medical technology progresses and becomes more innovative, the sheer variety of materials that need to be sterilized will most certainly increase. 3D printed medical devices will necessitate the same rigorous cleaning standards, but they will require some flexibility in how it’s done:
Extreme Tech – 27 March, 2016
As medical technology advances, the variety of materials that need to be sterilized grows. This 3D-printed skull is made of a plastic material polyetherketoneketone (PEKK, a thermoplastic) and is heat resistant which makes it suitable for high temperature sterilization in an autoclave.
Vision Tiemes – 2 November, 2016
As with any product used in the medical industry, the ability to clean and sterilize the material is crucial — better patient outcomes rely on it. 3D printed medical devices will necessitate the same rigorous cleaning standards, but possibly new and creative ways to achieve it. Radio frequency welding is one popular method of sterilization for medical and pharmaceutical companies.
As a global company we follow the state of sterilization and disinfection in developing countries:
NPR – 23 June, 2016
A third of hospitals in low and middle income countries may not have running water all the time.
Travel+Leisure – 04 July, 2016
It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a flying hospital! And in case you were curious, yes of course there's a sterilization area in this airplane hospital. The flying hospital has everything needed to perform six to eight eye surgeries for kids a day. Tuttnauer salutes the initiative of giving eyesight to kids in developing countries.
Zika grabbed an important part of the titles in 2016, while Ebola was still in the news:
International Business Times – 23 February, 2016
Global nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reportedly stepped in to help Brazil fight the Zika virus outbreak by sterilizing male Aedes mosquitoes with gamma rays, which will prevent the spread of the virus.
BBC News – 13 April, 2016
The World Health Organization has declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency. It is suspected of causing thousands of babies to be born with underdeveloped brains. This article includes complete information about the infection.
National Institutes of Health – 29 June, 2016
In 1976 the Ebola outbreak lasted 11 weeks and 280 deaths were reported. In the current outbreak there were 11,310 cases, and it lasted over two years. Analysis of the 1976 Ebola outbreak teaches us some lessons relevant for today.
NPR – 26 August, 2016
So far, it's looking like predictions from computer models were pretty much spot on: Zika wasn't a big threat in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics.
Sterilization is always important in Dentistry: