Skyline Hospital has been undergoing a significant increase in the variety and quantity of instruments that need sterilization, driven by the establishment of a rural health clinic and an ear-nose-throat-allergy clinic. Skyline Hospital recognized that this increase in demand, on top of the pre-existing demand from the emergency department, surgery and gastroenterology, could challenge the instrument sterilization key processes. As a result, the hospital set out to proactively develop an enhanced means to ensure effective sterilization and prioritize patient safety.
Working through a series of Plan-Do-Check-Act cycles, Skyline researched tools that measure cleanliness and applied for and was awarded a grant to fund purchasing. They then implemented the new assessment tools, generated run charts to pilot the process and extended testing to high-usage instruments after the pilot period.
Implementation revealed that the sterilization cleaning process was strong enough to allow all pilot tools to pass maximum Relative Light Unit (RLU) levels, and staff received concrete, positive feedback. In addition, the new technology was able to detect aging equipment even further in advance to alert if special cleaning attention or replacement is needed to ensure infection prevention. The pilot phase ended and testing has expanded to include highly utilized surgical instruments.
As a result of their development of the proactive cleanliness measurement tool, Skyline Hospital was nominated for the WSHA Rural Quality ~ Everyday Extraordinary Award, which recognizes outstanding process improvement by a health system that has resulted in a positive impact on the safety and quality of rural health care. Submissions will once again be accepted starting in 2020. The award is presented annually at the WSHA/AWPHD Rural Hospital Leadership Conference in Chelan. Questions can be directed to Sue Bergmann at SueB@wsha.org. Congratulations on the nomination, Skyline Hospital!