Stony Brook CS shifts into high gear for clinical services

April 21, 2020
2020 SPD Department of the Year Honorable Mention

Working in a rural section of New York’s Long Island, the Central Sterile team at Stony Brook (NY) University Hospital represents the intersection of perseverance and resilience navigating through another year of performance improvement and quality enhancements.

Facing the traditional challenges, hurdles and speed bumps that seem to emerge routinely in the pathway of sterile processing operations, Stony Brook’s CS team negotiated through them, bobbing, spinning and weaving as it chased excellence and pursued improvement to provide high-quality service to its clinical customers.

Taking a cue from an earlier award-winning SPD department, Stony Brook’s Central Sterile team reinforces and showcases its mission right above the entrance to its lair with a dark red banner that reads in large white capital letters, “Surgery starts here in Central Sterile.” It’s designed to remind everyone on the importance of their job within this Level 1 Trauma Center and teaching hospital, according to Luciano Iaboni, CRCST, CIS, CHL, CER, Director, and Bernard Gilbert, Assistant Director, CSPDT, CSPDS, CSPM, CER.

Stony Brook was nominated for Healthcare Purchasing News’ SPD Department of the Year award for four consecutive years, facing stiff competition each time. Last year, Stony Brook earned a Finalist designation; this year, Stony Brook elevated itself to Honorable Mention status, based largely on the trajectory of its CS team’s operations and performance improvements over the years.

Among the challenges Stony Brook’s CS team has surmounted during the last few years?

In past years, CS recruited staff with little-to-no experience due in part to union regulations and the lack of certified technicians in the local metropolitan area, which intensified the pressure on the CS educator to conduct comprehensive orientation programs while preparing new staff for the certification exam within a 12-month period. New orientation and educational programming led to more than 95 percent of the CS techs now being certified with 25 percent achieving advanced certification via IAHCSMM. This rise occurred against the backdrop of the new Children’s Hospital and Cancer Research Complex that are now fully operational and have heightened CS’ workload.

Concerns about too many trays missing instruments led CS to participate in a multidisciplinary work group to make some necessary changes. They created a single instrument program with two carts stationed in the OR that house pouched single instruments on a PAR level system and established a consignment program with its instrument supplier. CS techs now can replenish any missing instruments in a tray, lowering the missing rate to 2 percent on more than 100,000 trays per year.

CS also worked with nurses and surgical techs in the clinical areas of the hospitals and off-site clinics on improving instrument availability by spraying all instruments and endoscopes to streamline decontamination measures. Communication with OR liaisons remains ongoing and open.

In addition to the two new major clinical facilities, Stony Brook increased the number of OR suites – including two hybrid ORs, its ambulatory center expanded and the number of off-site clinics also rose, which added to its workload. Thankfully, C-suite executives recognized CS required additional equipment to support the added volume so CS was able to invest in six new washer/disinfectors facilitating shorter cleaning cycles and improved cleaning power; additional low-temperature gas plasma and steam sterilizers and inspection and testing equipment in a newly fortified workspace. CS also has embraced environmental sustainability by reducing the volume of wraps going to landfills in favor of using container systems and managing the use of multiple sterilization methods and eco-safe detergents for cleaning to reinforce their “Go-Green” initiatives.

Through it all, Stony Brook’s CS team created ways to encourage and recognize one another for superior efforts and achievements not only to reinforce a positive work environment but to remind themselves of the importance of their clinical contributions to patient care.

Return to: 2020 Sterile Processing Department of the Year

About the Author

Rick Dana Barlow | Senior Editor

Rick Dana Barlow is Senior Editor for Healthcare Purchasing News, an Endeavor Business Media publication. He can be reached at [email protected].

Photo 77197506 © Korn Vitthayanukarun | Dreamstime.com
Image courtesy of Kat Velez, LeeSar Regional Service Center, Fort Myers, FL, HPN’s 2017 SPD of the Year
261278015 © Александр Лебедько | Dreamstime.com