Who is AAMI, you ask? She can be your best friend or a pain in the neck depending on how well your facility compares to best practices and professional guidelines. The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and is a nonprofit organization founded in 1967. It is a diverse community of more than 8,000 professionals united by one important mission: the development, management, and use of safe and effective health technology.
While there are many committees, one of the more impactful and prominent is Workgroup 40 (WG:40) which develops ANSI/AAMI ST79. ST79 is the go-to reference for steam sterilization in all healthcare facilities, regardless of sterilizer or facility size. Developed by sterilization and manufacturing professionals, the ST79:2017 group is made up of roughly 150 individuals. A large majority of this group are vendors with a small group known as users that are CSSD professionals representing the profession and their respective hospitals.
This committee needs the help of more users, or people like yourself. You are the expert in the profession; therefore, we need your help.
How it works
Get approval from your facility. Your facility is already typically an AAMI member through the biomed department. It will not cost users anything to join. An important part of joining is to present a value proposition to your facility or boss highlighting what the return on their investment is for the facility allowing you to join and represent the hospital and CSSD profession, including:
- Supporting safety at every step for processing medical devices
- Following proper sterilization practices of processed items across multiple facility departments (i.e., OR, ER)
- Understanding the complete life cycle of sterilization processing, from managing temperature and humidity to processes for the decontamination area
- Staying in compliance with accrediting bodies such as The Joint Commission
- Supporting the delivery of properly processed medical devices critical to optimizing patients’ health
- Guiding personnel toward desirable performance objectives
- Becoming a leading and forward-thinking department as you are working on materials that will be coming out typically 2–3 years in the future
- Your name and facility appear in the ST79 book itself and most regulatory agencies appreciate the fact the department is run by such an expert (Note: This has been my past experience during inspections whenever I mention that I am a member)
- Your facility will have the latest up-to-date information
- Opening the world of CSSD networking to the facility as you work side by side with top-notch peers in the industry and related vendor experts
In addition, clarify if the facility will pay for your travel-related expenses related to attendance at the meetings twice per year and also support your time as work days while in attendance, as well as any conference calls during business hours.
Once this is clarified and supported, you can go to AAMI.org. In the box on the left, click Standards Development, then click Join a Committee. ST79 is WG40 if you wish to join that committee. I would list both on the form so there is no confusion. Click here to visit the page.
The group meets in person twice per year at AAMI headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. While attendance is highly recommended, it is not required. There is a dial-in option. The meeting itself is rewarding but the networking while there is invaluable. There is an online portal where work, voting, and comments are made. When you join, all committee members welcome you with open arms and provide guidance and help onboarding new members. A new staff orientation is also offered.
We must put an end to the 22,000 SSI-related deaths per year in the USA (CDC). Consider this a personal call to arms and consider joining this and other committees for 2020 as we fight this war on infection. I can speak from personal experience that there is not a more rewarding experience than to help move the profession forward and make an impact by improving and saving lives. The time is here and the time is now. I look forward to fighting side by side with you. Join the AAMI Army today! We need you.
If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to me via email at Davidjagrosse@gmail.com.
David Jagrosse, CRCST, CHL, has 30 years of experience in CSSD/SPD as a technician, supervisor, and manager. He was the Connecticut Central Service Association communications officer (1998–2000), vice president (2006–2008), and served three terms as president (2009–2015). David was a member and chairman of the ASHCSP Recognition Committee. He works with the AAMI Standards Work Group 40 (ST79) as an active voting member that develops guidelines in CSSD, and is the director of the oneSOURCE Speakers Bureau. David is active with IAHCSMM as a member of the orthopedic council and speaker at annual meetings, and has served IAHCSMM in many capacities, including president (2015–2016). He has been published in Communiqué/Process, Infection Control Today, Healthcare Purchasing News, and AAMI Horizons. David is a consultant for AAMI-based audits to CSS/OR audiences internationally.
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