Joint Commission releases new guide on reprocessing medical devices

Aug. 10, 2023

On June 25, “The Joint Commission Guide to Reprocessing Reusable Medical Devices” was released, according to the Joint Commission’s website.

A product description on the guide said, “Failure to appropriately reprocess reusable medical devices is a top-cited challenge for many Joint Commission–accredited healthcare organizations; in some cases, this failure leads to an immediate threat to health or safety. Proper cleaning, disinfection, or sterilization of medical devices are essential to prevent and control infection among patients and to mitigate exposure of patients and staff to chemicals used in these processes.”

Moreover, “This book provides step-by-step guidance on the sterilization of medical devices used in critical applications and on the high-level disinfection of heat-sensitive flexible endoscopes and ultrasound probes that encounter mucous membranes and nonintact skin. The Joint Commission Guide to Reprocessing Reusable Medical Devices also emphasizes the importance of understanding the Spaulding classification system, following manufacturer instructions for use (IFUs), and resolving any discrepancies among IFUs of medical device and reprocessing equipment manufacturers.”

Other key topics, according to the product description, include:

  • The order to follow when developing reprocessing policies, procedures and protocols
  • Outbreaks related to sterilized medical devices that were improperly or poorly disinfected
  • Joint Commission and Joint Commission International specifications related to device cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization
  • Significance of precleaning/point-of-use treatment, before beginning high-level disinfection or sterilization
  • What Joint Commission surveyors look for when monitoring reprocessing activities
  • Necessary quality control measures
  • Educating and competency assessment of all staff involved in medical device reprocessing

 Additionally, the guide has downloadable and customizable tools, infographics and photographs, and instructions and clarifications on cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization.

The Joint Commission has more information.