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NewSplash – March 2022

Issue 13 – 3/29

Ensuring Sufficient Time to Reprocess Instrument Trays by Mary Olivera
A few years ago, a friend got me interested in golf and it has become one of my spare-time passions. The game requires time, precision, and the right equipment, otherwise the score will reflect the player’s inability to succeed. Depending on the distance to the green and the player’s skill, a club is chosen to tee off the ball. The player must have the right equipment to be able to hit the ball in the direction of the green and not end up out of bounds or in the bunker. It is a game that cannot be rushed; every move must be carefully thought through. A round of golf can take up to four hours, but the ultimate success of the round relies on taking the time and having the right club available for the next play.

Let’s compare the sterile processing department (SPD) processes with a round of golf. We plan for the next day’s surgeries and assess which equipment is needed. At the beginning of the day, technicians and surgeons are ready, but the essential equipment needed to perform the surgical procedure is not available btecause the sterilizer broke down, and holes or bioburden were found on the tray. The team must wait three hours until the instruments are reprocessed. Everyone gets frustrated and the mood is set for the day.

Omicron BA.2 subvariant now dominant globally
The BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron version of COVID-19 is now the dominant variant worldwide, representing nearly 86% of all sequenced cases, according to the World Health Organization. The BA.2 subvariant is even more infectious than the highly transmissible Omicron, and has prompted surges in many European and Asian countries and raised concern in the US about the possibility of a new wave of infections.

New nasal spray treats Delta variant infection in mice, indicating broad spectrum results
Researchers have shown a new compound delivered in a nasal spray is highly effective in preventing and treating COVID-19 caused by the Delta variant in mice.

Next step in personalized medicine: matching medicines to DNA
The Royal College of Physicians and the British Pharmacological Society published a report, Personalised prescribing: using pharmacogenomics to improve patient outcomes, that explains how pharmacogenomic testing (matching medicines and doses with an individual’s genetic profile) should be deployed across the NHS to ensure all patients have an equal chance of being prescribed a medicine at a dose that is likely to be safe and effective for them, with minimal side effects.

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 rewind
On this episode from Season 11, Beyond Clean talks to Carolyn Hooks and Traci Farley from Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia, about the creative way their teams came together through a unique technology solution to build teamwork and drive change. Tune in to hear their hospital’s story, and hopefully draw the inspiration and tools you need to make progress on the headaches you face every day in your SPD.

 

Issue 12 – 3/22

Moderna seeks approval for fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Moderna has submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an amendment to the emergency use authorization (EUA) to allow for a fourth dose of its COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273) in adults 18 years of age and older who have received an initial booster of any of the authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines.

Aerosolized hydrogen peroxide can significantly reduce C. difficile infections in hospitals
A new study suggests that adding aerosolized hydrogen peroxide (aHP) to hospital infection prevention protocols can effectively reduce Clostridioides difficile infections, one of the most common healthcare-associated infections, among patients in large, acute-care facilities.

35 generic drug manufacturers agree to make generic versions of Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 treatment
The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) announced today that it has signed agreements with 35 companies to manufacture the generic version of Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 treatment nirmatrelvir, which in combination with a low dose of ritonavir can be supplied in 95 low- and middle-income countries.

NIH launches clinical trial of three mRNA HIV vaccines
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating three experimental HIV vaccines based on a messenger RNA (mRNA) platform—a technology used in several approved COVID-19 vaccines. NIAID is sponsoring the study, called HVTN 302, and the NIAID-funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), based at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, is conducting the trial.

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 rewind
This episode from Season 11 features Bryan Croft, senior vice president of operations at Cedars-Sinai. The topic of conversation is the widespread disconnect between hospital leadership and the sterile processing professionals who help keep surgeries going.

 

Issue 11 – 3/15

The Echo Chamber of Sterile Processing: Are the Voices Reverberating a Pleasant Sound? by Rebecca Kinney
You walk into the change room, grab a pair of hospital-issued scrubs, open your locker, and your tired body contorts itself into the pants’ legs. You pull the often-wrinkled top over your head, put on tennis shoes that have every virus known to man on the soles, and top it all off with some shoe covers and a hairnet. The door to your locker slams shut, the sound of nurses’ voices grumbling rings in your ears, and stressed-out coworkers set the tone as you step into your sterile processing (SP) persona of the day.

Some days the humming vibration feels happy; other days it feels heavy. You are in an environment that the outside world doesn’t understand, and as you place one foot in front of the other, it’s as if you’ve been transported to an alternate universe. The environment is different: the temperature is colder, white noise fills your ears, and the people around you have become your family in this alternate reality. Every family creates a tone and a hum, a feeling and a sound.

Researchers reengineer red blood cells to trigger immune system against COVID-19
Physicists, chemists, and immunologists at McMaster University have teamed up to modify red blood cells to transport viral agents which can safely trigger the immune system to protect the body against SARS-CoV-2, creating a promising new vehicle for vaccine delivery.

APIC calls for significant need to increase capacity across the U.S. healthcare system
As the world enters the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is issuing an urgent call to action to shore up the nation’s infection prevention and control (IPC) infrastructure.

Hospitals and health systems experiencing severe shortage of pharmacy technicians
Hospitals and health systems are experiencing severe shortages of pharmacy technicians, with a majority of pharmacy administrators in a recent survey reporting turnover rates of at least 21% in 2021, and nearly 1 in 10 noting they had lost 41% or more of their technicians.

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 rewind
In this episode from Season 11, Delft University of Technology researcher Girish Malage discusses his field studies and innovative approach to solving the systemic laparoscopic challenges facing hospitals around the globe, particularly in low- to middle-income countries. Tune in to hear how Girish approached these problems via engineering, resource constraints, and creativity.

 

Issue 10 – 3/8

New study shows two paths toward superior immunity to COVID-19
A new study from researchers at Oregon Health & Science University found that two forms of COVID-19 immunity, breakthrough infections following vaccination or natural infection followed by vaccination, provide nearly equal levels of enhanced immune protection.

Moderna announces its global health strategy
Moderna announced that it will begin testing vaccines on 15 priority pathogens that threaten global health, with these vaccines advancing to clinical studies by 2025. The targeted pathogens represent emerging or neglected infectious diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases, to name a few.

AAMI ST91 includes extensive updates for endoscope cleaning, patient safety
After seven years, the standard for cleaning and storing a long list of medical devices, such as flexible bronchoscopes and various endoscopes, has been updated to reflect the consensus of industry, clinicians, and sterilization professionals from around the world. The improved guidance document, ANSI/AAMI ST91:2021, Flexible and semi-rigid endoscope processing in health care facilities, addresses new technologies as well as concerns about medical device cleanliness and patient safety.

Single test for more than 50 genetic diseases will cut diagnosis from decades to days
A new DNA test, developed by researchers at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney and collaborators from Australia, UK, and Israel, has been shown to identify a range of hard-to-diagnose neurological and neuromuscular genetic diseases quicker and more accurately than existing tests.

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 rewind
This episode from Season 11 features a conversation with Suneil Mandava, founder and CEO of Mobile Aspects, about the challenges of endoscope tracking and tracing in hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and GI suites.

 

Issue 9 – 3/1

How Efficient Are UVGI Systems? by Mary Olivera
On a recent trip to the supermarket, I was amazed to see a robot making its way down the aisle. The robot, lovingly nicknamed Waldo, even had a surgical mask on in compliance with indoor mask regulations. As Waldo glided across the store, it stopped to meticulously scrub surfaces. With each new stop, a blue light beneath Waldo’s carriage illuminated the cleaned surface. Waldo’s mission was simple: to clean and disinfect. Never in my years of professional experience did I expect to see Jetsons’ technology in real life and here it was right in front of my eyes.

Today, robots are used in hospital settings to assist healthcare workers with many different tasks. We see robots performing surgery, delivering supplies to patient care areas, assembling instrument sets in sterile processing, and disinfecting critical areas as part of the environmental service team. In particular, disinfecting robotic tools have become extremely popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, revolutionizing how rooms are cleaned. But how effective are these devices and how do they work?

Antibacterial bioactive glass doubles down on microbial resistance to antibiotics
Infections linked to medical devices such as catheters, dental implants, orthopedics, and wound dressings could be dramatically reduced using a simple technique, according to new research. 

Chemical synthesis yields potential antibiotic
Chemists at MIT have developed a novel way to synthesize himastatin, a natural compound that has shown potential as an antibiotic.

Researchers create bacteria- and virus-shedding wrap
Researchers at McMaster University have developed a pathogen-repellant wrap that sheds bacteria and viruses, suggesting that it could play a key role in impeding the transmission or infection. The wrap was designed to protect high-touch surfaces, such as door handles and handrails, against contamination.

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 rewind
This episode from Season 11 features a conversation with Steven Sutton, director, planning and design group with Belimed. Steven discusses department design and layout in the decontamination area. He offers insight into this SPD 101 topic, some options if you’re strapped for space, and the important implications that one-way workflows have across the rest of your department.