St. Michael’s Hospital surgical schedule stays on track during major construction with mobile medical device reprocessing unit

When St. Michael’s Hospital began a major building and renovation project, its Medical Device Reprocessing Department (MDRD) had to move out of its longtime home in the basement so its space could be modernized to meet Canadian Standards Association requirements and improve workflow.

The hospital needed a solution that would allow the MDRD to continue to function 24-7 and provide clean and sterile medical devices and equipment to all areas of the hospital from the operating rooms to the catheterization lab. With more than 30,000 surgical cases a year, St. Michael’s knew even the slightest interruption in service or sterility standards was unacceptable.

The solution ultimately came from St. Michael’s sterile processing partner, STERIS Corporation, in the form of a mobile MDRD on wheels. The mobile MDRD is a 53-foot expandable unit set up in a courtyard adjacent to the hospital. The unit is approximately 1,000 square feet of MDRD space when fully deployed. It is outfitted to accommodate up to eight staff and the hospital’s daily volume of surgical instrument cleaning and sterilization using state-of-the-art washers and sterilizers.

“We have very high expectations and stringent requirements for sterile processing and infection control, and we were both familiar and comfortable with STERIS’s mobile sterilization solutions unit,” said Catherine Hogan, director of Perioperative Services at St. Michael’s.

St. Michael’s MDRD had to be fully renovated to meet CSA standards, but had no ability to expand or increase its footprint due to critical foundation walls lining the perimeter of the department. After considering outsourcing sterilization services and phased construction options, the cost and risk for continued operations and sterility assurance was deemed too high for either option, leaving the mobile facility as the best option.

STERIS has deployed its mobile units in dozens of hospitals throughout Canada and the U.S. during major construction projects like that at St. Michael’s. This approach allows for single-phased construction without restricting designs, increasing risk of contamination, affecting surgical wait times, or sacrificing sterility assurance.

Once construction was completed, Hogan’s department moved into a new space, complete with state-of-the-art STERIS sterile processing equipment. The department, and the hospital, didn’t miss a beat and continued full operations of the surgical department as a result of using the mobile MDRD.

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