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NewSplash Archive – April 2022

Issue 17 – 4/26

Everything Except the Main Thing: The Crisis of Cross-Training by Hank Balch
In the sterile processing industry, it’s often a badge of honor to be cross-trained into every area of the department.

Need someone in decontamination? Great!
It’s time to pull case carts? Awesome!
The oral maxillofacial tray is ready for assembly? No problem!

Baked into our very orientation and onboarding processes is a model of cross-training that exposes new technicians to every aspect of the sterile processing workflow to build both competency and confidence across the team. So far, so good. However, there is also a dark side to cross-training that many encounter every day, even though they may not have connected all the dots.

CDC launches new center for forecasting and outbreak analytics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the launch of the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA). CFA seeks to enhance the nation’s ability to use data, models, and analytics to enable timely, effective decision-making in response to public health threats for CDC and its public health partners.

Scientists identify chemical markers that may unlock future therapeutic uses of mRNA

In recent years, messenger RNA, DNA’s close cousin in life’s complex process of going from a string of genetic blueprints to fully a functioning organism, has received intense scrutiny in the scientific and medical community for the role it can play in creating next-generation vaccines, cancer treatments, and stem cell therapies addressing myriad previously incurable diseases. The previously obscure topic of mRNA became a nearly universal household utterance following the rush to discover a type of vaccine that could prevent COVID-19 related fatalities.

US study suggests COVID-19 pandemic may be accelerating antimicrobial resistance
Among those hospitalized during the pandemic, both COVID-19 patients and those tested for SARS-COV-2 but negative, had higher rates of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections compared to patients hospitalized before the pandemic, according to a study evaluating the pandemic’s impact on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in 271 hospitals across the USA, to be presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Lisbon, Portugal.

Beyond Clean Season 16
This episode, Jill Sweeney, CRCST, clinical educator with Censis Technologies, Inc., discusses the complex and often confusing workflows of loaner instruments in sterile processing. Jill shares her insights on loaner tracking compliance, industry best practices, and the basic building blocks of a high-performing loaner process.


Issue 16 – 4/19

Professional Presentation: Don’t Be in the Crowd by Sarah B. Cruz, CSPDT, CRCST, CHL, CSSNerd
The lights are dimmed. The voices of the crowd slowly become a murmur and then fall silent. You hear the host welcome you to join them. The lights are so bright you can’t see the audience as you move across the stage. They hand you the proverbial sterile processing mic. Everyone is ready and waiting. Are you ready to give your professional presentation?

Our purpose, passion, mission, core values, and vocation are laid out for everyone to see. The crowd will interpret the information we present and form their own impression of us. What they take away from this encounter is based completely upon us. However, this type of impression is not limited to a literal stage; we professionally present ourselves daily.

SP Techs: Are You Maintaining Your Clean Assembly Properly? by Natalie Lind, CRCST, CHL, FCS
Following instrument decontamination, special care is required to ensure the devices are not recontaminated before the sterilization process begins. Sterile processing (SP) technicians must ensure that the clean assembly area stays clean, so contaminants are not introduced to the area or reintroduced to instruments coming from the decontamination area.

Although most facilities rely on the environmental services department (EVS) for general daily cleaning services—including trash collection, floor and fixture cleaning, and regularly scheduled cleaning of air vents, walls, ceilings, etc.—SP staff are responsible for cleaning their work areas and ensuring that high-touch areas (i.e., door handles, light switches, computer keyboards, and scanners) are routinely cleaned to limit microbial contamination. SP professionals are also responsible for cleaning inspection and testing equipment.

Moderna announces clinical update on bivalent COVID-19 booster platform
Moderna announced new clinical data on its bivalent COVID-19 booster platform, including data on their first bivalent booster candidate, mRNA-1273.211, which includes mutations found in the Beta variant of concern, several of which have been persistent in more recent variants of concern including Omicron. A 50 µg booster dose of mRNA-1273.211 demonstrated superiority against Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants of concern one month after administration.

Chiral gold nanoparticles increase vaccine efficacy by more than 25%, study suggests
Vaccines can be made over 25% more effective by adding left-handed chiral gold nanoparticles as adjuvants, according to a study by an international collaboration in which Brazilian researchers took part. An article reporting the results is published in Nature.

2022 HSPA Conference & Expo registration open
Registration for the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA, formerly IAHCSMM) 2022 Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, is now open. The in-person conference will be held April 23–27, 2022.

Beyond Clean Season 16
With each new generation of sterile processing technician, the workforce gets more and more comfortable with technology, mobile applications, and software, but there’s still a large percentage of our industry who remember the days before departments were so computerized, wired, and required. This episode’s guest is Angus Bruce, Beyond Clean Advisory Group member and CSS director at Anne Arundel Medical Center. Angus discusses how these different generational perspectives on technology impact how we staff, train, and lead our departments.


Issue 15 – 4/12

Washer Cycle Optimization: Why, How, and What It Gets You by Jonathan Wilder, Ph.D., Managing Director
Wilder’s First Law of Sterile Processing: Each step of the processing should almost make the next steps unnecessary.

Wilder’s Second Law of Sterile Processing: Cleaning’s goal is to get to zero residual soil.

Washers (washer-disinfectors, ultrasonics) are only as good as they are measured to be. AAMI ST79:2017 sections and Annex D recommend that you should verify cleaning performance weekly, but to be sure, you should test each washer daily. Why? It saves a recall back to the last successful cleaning verification.

From rare soil microbe, a new antibiotic candidate
Demand for new kinds of antibiotics is surging, as drug-resistant and emerging infections are becoming an increasingly serious global health threat. Researchers are racing to reexamine certain microbes that serve as one of our most successful sources of therapeutics: the actinomycetes.

Study provides clues on why some bad infections persist
A study led by researchers at University of Utah Health details a novel mechanism that infectious bacteria use to quickly adjust to environmental stress. The discovery could help explain why certain types of common infections—such as urinary tract and bloodstream infections like sepsis—persist. 

Psilocybin rewires the brain for people with depression
Psilocybin fosters greater connections between different regions of the brain in depressed people, freeing them up from long-held patterns of rumination and excessive self-focus, according to a new study by scientists at UC San Francisco and Imperial College London.

2022 HSPA Conference & Expo registration open
Registration for the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA, formerly IAHCSMM) 2022 Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, is now open. The in-person conference will be held April 23–27, 2022.

Beyond Clean Season 16
Michelle Sirex, Beyond Clean Advisory Group member and education specialist at Overlake Medical Center, discusses why scanning compliance is so problematic in decontamination. Tune in for Michelle’s thoughts on the potential data gaps during the decontamination phase of reprocessing, and why these missing data points can be a big deal for your team.


Issue 14 – 4/5

Researchers generate the first complete, gapless sequence of a human genome
Scientists have published the first complete, gapless sequence of a human genome, two decades after the Human Genome Project produced the first draft human genome sequence. According to researchers, having a complete, gap-free sequence of the roughly three billion bases (or “letters”) in our DNA is critical for understanding the full spectrum of human genomic variation and for understanding the genetic contributions to certain diseases.

Pharmacogenetic testing shows promise improving symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant depression
Pharmacogenetic testing was associated with nearly a two-fold (89%) increase in remission rates compared to treatment as usual in a Centre for Addiction and Mental Health-led clinical study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

Smartphone app aims to capture medical-grade blood pressure results
The UC Health Care Innovation Center has teamed with cardiology app startup Riva Health to develop a method of using a smartphone to take highly accurate blood pressure and heart rate measurements, without a cuff. This will enable anyone with a smartphone and the Riva Health app to record and document blood pressure and heart rate day in, day out.

NIH begins clinical trial evaluating second COVID-19 booster shots in adults
A Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating various additional COVID-19 booster shots has begun enrolling adult participants in the United States. The trial aims to understand if different vaccine regimens—prototype and variant vaccines alone and in combinations—can broaden immune responses in adults who already have received a primary vaccination series and a first booster shot.

2022 HSPA Conference & Expo registration open
Registration for the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA, formerly IAHCSMM) 2022 Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, is now open. The in-person conference will be held April 23–27, 2022.

Beyond Clean Season 16 premiere
You’ve transitioned from manual tracking to electronic tracking in the SPD, but what if you had to go back? What would you learn? On our premiere of Season 16, we sit down with Joseph Martin, Beyond Clean Advisory Group member and SPD educator at UC Health, to discuss his unique experience of managing an instrument tracking database at a Level 1 trauma hospital, then transitioning as an educator to a smaller facility that was still doing manual tracking.