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NewSplash Archives – December 2020

Issue 52 – 12/29

Happy New Year from NewSplash and Ultra Clean Systems
At the end of the year, we typically reflect on events of the past year and take stock of our lives. We’re certain few people will look fondly upon 2020, so let’s turn our attention to 2021 and the hope and promise that lies within it. As authorities continue to distribute vaccines, please remain vigilant and know your work is greatly appreciated by all. Here’s to a healthy 2021.

Leadership: More Than Just a Word by Rebecca Kinney
Leadership is much more than just a buzzword. In current times, it feels like it’s become synonymous with any person who holds a position of power, or a term used online to be motivational. Yet, in the world of healthcare, it’s a Titanic-sized task, and a larger-than-life requirement of any successful healthcare worker. It involves the actual lives of those we serve, above and beyond an action or mental well-being. We are tasked with keeping people alive, and the capacity in which we lead can be the literal do or die to those we serve. Sterile processing leaders are tasked even further to pay attention to detail via instructions for use (IFUs), juggle multiple specialties of surgery, and balance time management that comes with add-on cases and unexpected inspections from regulatory agencies. In the medical field, it’s abundantly clear that not all leaders are created equal, and that every person at any level or role can be a leader in their own unique way, and the fashion in which they lead can indeed affect the trajectory of people’s lives.

 

Issue 51 – 12/22

A Professional Pivot Plan by Sarah B. Cruz
Remember our first day in our very first central sterile services role? We opened the pressurized door through sterile storage and walked into the department dressed in hospital scrubs and dedicated work shoes, with a ton of thoughts and emotions in tow: anxious, inspired, uneasy, excited. Despite how we found central sterile services, here we were, bouffant on and ready to go. Some haven’t looked back that far in a long time, while others may have just experienced their first day yesterday.

New coronavirus strains cause concern
Health authorities in Britain and South Africa have reported new strains of the COVID-19 coronavirus that appears to spread more easily. It is unclear at this point if the new strains are more deadly.

LEDs found to kill COVID-19
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have demonstrated the ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diodes (UV-LEDs) can quickly and efficiently kill the COVID-19 coronavirus. The technology is relatively inexpensive and may soon be available for commercial and private use.

Abbott to supply 30M COVID-19 diagnostics to HHS as Beckman Coulter targets mass testing
As U.S. coronavirus cases continue to surge, companies have been ramping up production of point-of-care antigen tests that are among the cheapest and quickest tests available. Abbott and Beckman Coulter are among the few companies that have the capability to scale up to meet the demand for antigen testing.

Researchers identify critical molecules that coronaviruses hijack to infect human cells
When a coronavirus—including SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19—infects someone, it hijacks the person’s cells, coopting their molecular machinery for its own survival and spread. Researchers at Gladstone Institutes and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, in collaboration with scientists at UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Synthego Corporation, have identified critical molecular processes in human cells that coronaviruses use to survive.

Smart ring measures health parameters, may help in early detection of COVID-19
Oura is a smart ring that measures heart rate, activity levels, calories, steps, temperature, and respiratory rate, and sleep timing and quality, among other parameters. The ring sends data to the Oura app, and users can link their Apple Health or Google Fit accounts and see their workouts directly on the app.

Beyond Clean rewind
On this episode from Season 5, Beyond Clean went international with a discussion with Xana Jardine, the president of the CSSD forums of South Africa. Xana discusses the challenges SPDs face in South Africa, how they implement solutions, and regional issues facing SPD technicians and department leaders.

 

Issue 50 – 12/15

Breaking the Silence in Sterile Processing by Marjorie Wall
Have you ever felt like no one hears you? Do you have concerns and you try to speak up, but you just get shut down? One of the most dangerous things that can happen in a sterile processing department is when team members do not have a voice. Sterile processing departments are high-pressure, busy departments. They are also high risk for errors and mistakes occurring. When errors and mistakes happen, they lead to employee injury or patient harm. Sterile processing team members need to have a voice to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas. 

First American vaccinated against coronavirus
On Monday, December 14, Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care nurse became the first person in the U.S. to receive the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside of a study. Lindsay has treated some of the sickest COVID-19 patients for months.

Researchers to test combination of Oxford and Russia vaccines
Scientists in the U.K. and Russia are teaming up to trial a combination of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to determine if protection against COVID-19 will be improved. The researchers hope that mixing two similar vaccines will lead to an improved immune response.

Roche and Siemens COVID-19 antibody tests shine in FDA accuracy roundup
COVID-19 antibody tests from Roche and Siemens scored highly on a comparison of emergency authorized tests published by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The comparison, which relies on data from the companies, shows variation in the ability of serology assets to reliably determine if a sample contains antibodies against the pandemic coronavirus. 

Researchers demonstrate how targeted microbubbles can administer cancer drugs
Cancer patients know all too well that the powerful medicine they rely on to beat the disease can have debilitating effects on the body. Researchers at the University of Leeds have shown that cancer drugs can be carried by microbubbles guided to the site of a tumor using antibodies.

LabCorp receives FDA authorization to make at-home COVID-19 collection kits available through retail
LabCorp announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pixel by LabCorp COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit to become the first to be available over the counter without requiring a prescription. The kit is currently available through the Pixel by LabCorp website, and this approval will enable LabCorp to potentially distribute the kit through retail channels.

APIC survey reveals depth of PPE shortages
As cases of COVID-19 surge in the U.S., a national survey of infection prevention experts, conducted October 22 through November 5, 2020, by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), found that while healthcare personnel have better access to PPE than they did in the spring, many healthcare facilities have implemented PPE crisis standards of care.

Beyond Clean rewind
In this episode from Season 5, Beyond Clean talks to Jeremy Gibson-Roark, certification surveyor with DNV GL. The topics are how departments are implementing quality management programs around the country, and the brand new department-level sterile processing certification available through the DNV GL organization.

 

Issue 49 – 12/8

Safety Data Sheets: An Overview and Call to Action by David Jagrosse
In the healthcare setting there are many chemicals that we encounter and work with. The aim of this article is to review and, in some cases, inform people of what their rights to safety are regarding these products and how the new hazard communication system works. The specific focus will be on the safety data sheets (SDS), which tell us everything we want to know regarding chemicals we are working with, near, or are potentially exposed to. We will focus on specific aspects of these sheets that are often overlooked: spill-response measures and how they are organized, stored, and accessed. First, let’s do an overview of safety data sheets.

New Jersey hospital saw increase of hospital-acquired bacterial infection during earlier COVID-19 surge, CDC finds
Between February and July, 34 patients at a New Jersey hospital acquired carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumanni infection or colonization, according to the CDC’s Dec. 1 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The bacteria can lead to pneumonia and wound, blood stream and urinary tract infections.

CDC publishes considerations to help remain safe during the holidays (and beyond)
The holidays are upon us, which means traveling and gathering with friends and family. What can we do to help minimize risk to ourselves and others during this pandemic?

Healthcare-associated infections on rise amid pandemic, experts say
Many infection preventionists said they’ve seen an uptick in healthcare-associated infections at their facilities since the pandemic’s start, according to a Dec. 3 survey from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

AAMI presents COVID-19 Lessons Learned webinar
AAMI recently presented the COVID-19 Lessons Learned: HTM, Sterile Processing, and Infection Control webinar. The panel discussion includes representatives from healthcare technology management, sterile processing, and infection prevention to discuss how these disciplines have responded to and learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight areas of alignment for patient and worker safety.

AORN to host Respiratory Protection virtual forum
On Thursday, December 10, at 2:00 p.m. Mountain Time, AORN will host the Respiratory Protection virtual forum. Join hosts Julie Cahn and Jon Imms as they present AORN’s recommendations for sterile technique and transmission-based precautions related to respiratory protection, discuss PAPRs and N95s, compare newer reusable respiratory products to disposables, and more.

OR Today presents laryngoscope and bronchoscope reprocessing webinar
On Thursday, December 10 at 2:00 p.m. ET, OR Today will present the Take a Deep Breath: Reprocessing of Laryngoscopes and Bronchoscopes webinar. The 60-minute webinar will be hosted by Regina Hammond, senior manager of commercial and clinical education, and Janet Moran, senior clinical education consultant.

MedPage Today unveils Track the Vax podcast
Clinical and medical news website MedPage Today, in collaboration with Everyday Health, launched a new podcast, Track the Vax, hosted by medical journalist Serena Marshall. The weekly podcast aims to keep listeners up to date on the state of COVID-19 vaccines, answer COVID-19 questions, and to clear up misconceptions surrounding the vaccines.

Tune in to IAHCSMM’s PROCESS THIS! podcast
This episode, Megan Pietura explains how teamwork, interdepartmental partnerships, and peer-to-peer recognition can be used to champion the cause of altering common negative perceptions of the sterile processing decontamination area. Megan also identifies critical areas in decontam that can be improved now.

Beyond Clean rewind
This week’s episode from Season 5 features a conversation with Densley Coke, sterile processing manager at Northside Forsyth Hospital and adjunct professor of the sterile processing program at Gwinnett Technical College. The topics are collaborating with technical colleges to improve sterile processing, how curriculums are created, and the impact these technical colleges are having on the job market.

 

Issue 48 – 12/1

And We Shall Call Them…What? The Great Disagreements about Names, Titles, and Departments in Our Industry by Hank Balch
Central sterile. Sterile processing. Sterile services. MDR. SPS. CSSD. The list of acronyms and descriptions of how we name ourselves, our industry, and our departments can go on and on—depending often on where you work, what your first department was called when you began your career, or who you happen to be talking to in the moment.

Will we ever come to an agreement on these names and acronyms? If so, how would it have to happen? And, just as importantly, does it even matter?

European regulator could approve first COVID-19 vaccine by end of the year
Regulators with the European Medicines Agency may approve the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech by December 29. They will meet to determine if there is enough safety and efficacy data for the vaccine to be approved.

AAMI and ADA working together to create new sterilization standard
The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) is teaming up with the American Dental Association (ADA) to create a new AAMI Sterilization working group focused on creating a steam sterilization and sterility assurance standard for dental facilities.

Drug reverses age-related cognitive decline within days
A few doses of an experimental drug can reverse age-related declines in memory and mental flexibility in mice, according to a new study by UC San Francisco scientists. The drug, called ISRIB, has already been shown in laboratory studies to restore memory function months after traumatic brain injury (TBI), reverse cognitive impairments in Down Syndrome, prevent noise-related hearing loss, fight certain types of prostate cancer, and even enhance cognition in healthy animals.

OR Today presents laryngoscope and bronchoscope reprocessing webinar
On Thursday, December 10 at 2:00 p.m. ET, OR Today will present the Take a Deep Breath: Reprocessing of Laryngoscopes and Bronchoscopes webinar. The 60-minute webinar will be hosted by Regina Hammond, senior manager of commercial and clinical education, and Janet Moran, senior clinical education consultant. Regina and Janet will provide a review of airway devices and the proper handling and associated reprocessing guidelines.

3M presents sterilization quality control in clinic setting webinar
On Thursday, December 17, the 3M Health Care Academy presents the Sterilization Quality Control in the Clinic Setting webinar. The one-hour webinar will be presented by Susan Flynn, 3M Application Engineering.

Tune in to IAHCSMM’s PROCESS THIS! podcast
This episode, Megan Pietura explains how teamwork, interdepartmental partnerships, and peer-to-peer recognition can be used to champion the cause of altering common negative perceptions of the sterile processing decontamination area. Megan also identifies critical areas in decontam that can be improved now.

Beyond Clean rewind
In this episode from Season 5, the hosts sat down with Charlie Webb, founder and president at Van der Stähl Scientific, to discuss the intricacies of medical device packaging and to challenge assumptions regarding how and why these workflows look different inside and outside the hospital setting. Tune in to hear from one of the leading advocates in medical device packaging in the U.S. and ask yourself if there is anything your team can do to improve your process.