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NewSplash Archive – August 2020

Issue 34 – 8/25

Why HAI Prevention Matters by Lisa M. McKown, DrPHc, MBA, CRCST, CIS, CHL, MBTI
My father loved to talk and was a great storyteller. Throughout my life, I would need to reserve a couple of hours when giving him a call because he always had a lot to say. My personality was comparatively more introspective and reserved, but I suspect that being conditioned to patiently listen for long periods encouraged me to be even quieter as a child than I would have been naturally. He was an extroverted, dynamic person who loved to sing, dance, and experience life to the fullest. His proudest achievement was being a loving husband, father, and grandfather.

Pfizer and BioNTech share positive early data on vaccine candidate
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE shared additional Phase 1 safety and immunogenicity data from their ongoing U.S. study of the BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine program against SARS-CoV-2, which has advanced into Phase 2/3 evaluation.

FDA issues emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma as potential COVID-19 treatment
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for investigational convalescent plasma for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to fight COVID-19. Based on scientific evidence available, the FDA concluded, as outlined in its decision memorandum, this product may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.

Sound of bubbles in bloodstream provides COVID-19 clue
A neurologist at New York’s Mount Sinai Health System made a discovery after checking comatose COVID-19 patients for signs of a stroke. Dr. Alexandra Reynolds was checking patients with a new robotic version of a transcranial Doppler that uses sound waves to track blood flow in the brain.

Roche and Regeneron team up to develop COVID-19 antibody treatment
Roche is adding its manufacturing and development capabilities to Regeneron’s effort to create an antibody cocktail to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. Regeneron will handle U.S. sales and Roche will handle worldwide distribution if the plan wins approval.

Naturally occurring antibodies against prion proteins found in humans
Antibodies targeting the normal PrP version of the prion protein have been found in humans selected at random with no history of any associated transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The significance is that prion proteins can be converted into a disease-causing infectious particle like PrPSc, an aggregated version or isoform resistant to degradation by protease enzymes.

Stem cells shielded with alginate biomaterial improve healing after heart attack
Researchers from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have shown that shielding stem cells with a novel alginate biomaterial improves the cells’ ability to heal heart injuries following heart attacks.

Mitigating risks of processing reusable medical devices in ambulatory care settings
Reusable device processing in ambulatory care often occurs at a local level and is commonly overseen by nonclinical managers. Current best practice standards and guidelines for device processing apply the same ambulatory care as they do for acute care settings.

HTM Jobs provides new industry career center
If you’re looking for a new job in healthcare technology management (HTM), biomed, or clinical engineering, check out HTM Jobs for specialized career opportunities.

New Beyond Clean episode is now available
This week, Lisa McKown, DrPHc, MBA, CRCST, CIS, CHL, MBTI (and manager, research and development at Beyond Clean) discusses the critical need for research in the sterile processing field. She gets to the heart of how further study can change the industry for the better. Don’t miss this episode.


Issue 33 – 8/18

Elusive Cost of Risk by Pawel de Sternberg Stojalowski
For some time now, I have been researching, or rather trying to research, the concept of risk associated with infection transmission through inadequately decontaminated surgical instruments. When I began looking into this back in 2014, the available research and data on this topic was minimal. This remains true to this day. Currently, we are operating in a fuzzy logic domain of low and high risk, with no universal method of quantifying risk or relating it to an end cost. This makes decision-making based on this risk difficult.

Medical device shortages during the COVID-19 public health emergency
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has taken many actions to help ensure that patients and healthcare providers have timely and continued access to high-quality medical devices to respond effectively to the COVID-19 public health emergency. These actions include issuing emergency use authorizations (EUAs) and guidance documents to provide recommendations and help expand the availability and capability for various diagnostic, therapeutic, and protective medical devices in high demand during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

National organizations provide guidance on maintaining essential operations during COVID-19
The recent resurgence of COVID-19 has many states near or at bed and intensive care unit (ICU) capacity, and healthcare facilities’ ability to meet the ongoing needs of surgical patients may be stressed by new influxes of COVID-19 patients admitted to healthcare facilities. 

Canon Medical launches mobile digital X-ray system
Hospitals and healthcare facilities regularly require rapid imaging exams performed in a variety of complex situations, often at the patient’s bedside. With the launch of Canon Medical Systems USA Inc.’s all-new SOLTUS 500 Mobile Digital X-ray, facilities now have access to a system that is equipped with enhancements that can streamline bedside exams to help improve workflow and productivity.

New ingredient discovered to combat biting insects
A new active ingredient, discovered and developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in insecticides and insect repellents.

Researchers find potential new treatment for prion disease
A study published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research outlines a possible treatment strategy for patients suffering from prion disease. Prion disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that is currently untreatable.

OR Today presents collaboration webinar
On Thursday, August 20, OR Today will host United We Stand Divided We Fall: Collaboration Is the Solution You’ve Been Searching For webinar. The 60-minute webinar will feature Michelle Lemmons, RN, BSN, PHN, clinical educator OR for Key Surgical.

Mitigating risks of processing reusable medical devices in ambulatory care settings
Reusable device processing in ambulatory care often occurs at a local level and is commonly overseen by nonclinical managers. Current best practice standards and guidelines for device processing apply the same to ambulatory care as they do for acute care settings.

New Beyond Clean episode is now available
This week, Beyond Clean welcomes brothers Aaron and Christian Ankrum, directors and producers of “Beyond the Tour,” to discuss the power or storytelling to inform the public of the role sterile processing plays in healthcare.


Issue 32 – 8/11

The Value of Education, Information & Trust in Sterile Processing Vendor Relationships by Hank Balch
I still remember the first in-services I ever saw as a young sterile processing technician. Here were these vendors, standing up in front of our department, showing us the new set of orthopedic drills that our hospital purchased or holding up a bottle of the new detergent we would be using in the decontamination room.

Everything was so exciting. The vendors were excited. My little technician heart and head were excited. I tried to soak up every word and ask as many questions as I could before the short exchange of information was up. This kind of meeting wasn’t something I had ever seen in previous industries in which I worked. There was no such thing as an in-service at the supermarket I was hired from. We had no in-services at the landscaping company I worked at in college. The idea that manufacturer representatives would come to our hospital in the middle of Kentucky and talk to us about products and equipment we had already bought was a little mind blowing.

Scientists manufacturing antibodies to potentially treat COVID-19
While we wait for a COVID-19 vaccine, scientists are developing monoclonal antibodies to target the virus. This therapy, widely used to treat cancer and other disorders, introduces antibodies in the patient that recognize the virus and lock onto it, preventing the virus from spreading.

Osso VR and MicroPort partner for knee and hip surgery training
Due to COVID-19, medical students and residents don’t have access to in-person training. To help expand access to education and training, virtual reality (VR) company Osso VR announced the launch of a VR training module for MicroPort Orthopedics SuperPATH Hip Technique and Evolution Medial-Pivot Knee System.

FDA clears SOMATOM On.site portable CT scanner
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the SOMATOM On.site, a mobile head computed tomography (CT) scanner from Siemens Healthineers that enables a critically ill patient to receive CT head imaging in the intensive care unit (ICU) while remaining in bed. Performing a CT head examination at the patient’s bedside can eliminate costly transports to the radiology department, which involve high staffing requirements and potential patient risk.

InterStim Micro and SureScan MRI leads for incontinence control receive FDA approval
Medtronic plc announced it has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its InterStim Micro neurostimulator and InterStim SureScan MRI leads. InterStim Micro—the market’s smallest rechargeable device to deliver sacral neuromodulation (SNM) therapy—is used for treating overactive bladder, fecal incontinence, and nonobstructive urinary retention.

Texas Tech El Paso offers TT HealthWatch podcast
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso produces a weekly podcast called TT HealthWatch that provides up-to-date information on a variety of health topics, including developments regarding COVID-19. Consider adding it to your research and information arsenal.

OR Today Live! presentation
OR Today Live! runs from August 16–18 and provides educational and networking opportunities, as well as an exhibit hall and fun events. If you’re attending the conference, our own Tom Overbey, CCSVP and marketing director for Ultra Clean Systems, will present “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.”

New Beyond Clean episode is now available
Endoscope reprocessing presents many challenges, and those challenges are exacerbated when countries have differing standards. This week, Nick Bromiley, AGTS, CFER, CSPDT, ARIA, clinical training specialist at Ambu USA, discusses how various infectious outbreaks have affected the U.S. and Europe.


Issue 31 – 8/4

The Stakes Are High When Preventive Maintenance Is Low by Rebecca Kinney
What’s at stake when you halt your preventive measures (PM) program because a pandemic has changed all sense of normalcy in your SPD? Maybe a lot more than you might think. Yes, tides have shifted, but preventive measures should be the increasing rather than declining in this ever-constant storm we call COVID.

Surgical caseloads at many facilities are operating at an all-time high, exceeding even last year’s volumes. Elective procedures being put on hold for a few months created a backlog of procedures that now must be performed, and the unpredictable nature of our current state has left many departments scrambling to stay afloat.

FDA authorizes first tests that estimate a patient’s antibodies from past SARS-CoV-2 infection
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the first two COVID-19 serology tests that display an estimated quantity of antibodies present in the individual’s blood. Both tests from Siemens, the ADVIA Centaur COV2G and Atellica IM COV2G, are what are known as semiquantitative tests, meaning that they do not display a precise measurement, but estimate the quantity of a patient’s antibodies produced against infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Vagus nerve stimulator receives FDA okay to treat asthmatics with COVID-19
electroCore, Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) authorizing the use of gammaCore Sapphire CV noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation (nVNS) at home or in a healthcare setting to acutely treat adult patients with known or suspected COVID-19 who are experiencing exacerbation of asthma-related dyspnea and reduced airflow, and for whom approved drug therapies are not tolerated or provide insufficient symptom relief.

Blood test for Alzheimer’s disease may be on the horizon
Across several studies, an experimental blood test proved to be highly accurate at distinguishing people with Alzheimer’s disease from those without it. In the studies, testing was able to identify those with Alzheimer’s versus those with no dementia with accuracy ranging from 89% to 98%.

Smart hand sanitizer dispenser aims to improve hand hygiene
SAVORTEX, a tech company based in the U.K., has developed a no-touch, smart hand sanitizer dispenser that tracks how hand sanitizer is being used in a facility. The dispenser provides updates on when health may be compromised due to lack of use of the dispenser.

New video laryngoscope helps clinicians intubate patients faster
Nihon Kohden announced that it is now offering the NK AWS-S200 video laryngoscope. Designed for the safe and secure intubation of patients in even the most difficult situations, the NK AWS-S200 may reduce the exposure to aerosolized particles, which can help protect clinicians while intubating patients suffering from COVID-19 or other respiratory infections.

IAHCSMM call for presentations deadline extended to August 10
Due to the ongoing demands facing sterile processing, IAHCSMM decided to extend the deadline to submit speaker presentations for the 2021 IAHCSMM Annual Conference & Expo taking place on May 1–5, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. The conference will provide a mix of educational workshops and presentations to showcase new ideas and methods of improvement in the sterile processing field.

OR Today Live! registration now open
Registration is open for OR Today Live! in Denver. The conference features industry-leading speakers, an expo hall, 25 educational sessions providing the ability to earn CEUs, and more.

New Beyond Clean episode is now available
This week on Beyond Clean, Jennifer Benolken and Malinda Elammari discuss event-related sterility and packaging shelf life. If packaging has a shelf life listed in the IFU, must it be followed or are hospitals free to make their own decisions regarding use? Does an extended period of storage constitute an event? Tune in for answers to these questions and more.