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Last updated: July 06, 2020

automated surgical instrument washer for reducing hospital acquired infections (hais)Understanding the Costs of Hospital Acquired Infections

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are reported annually and are costing us almost $30.5 billion. There are many different types of HAIs, including surgical site infections (SSIs), central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), ventilator-associated pneumonias (VAPs), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), and Clostridium difficile-associated disease (CDI). Available on Vizient GPO Contract #CE2900 (Vizient customers call for contract pricing.

Beginning in 2012, Medicaid’s federal match will no longer pay for some HAIs and will penalize hospitals with high rates of avoidable HAIs. Understanding the causes of HAIs and investing in solutions for cleaning surgical tools and reusable medical devices is an extremely important step to both reduce HAIs and the costs associated with them.

What Causes HAIs in Sterile Processing Departments

Bioburden – defined as blood, bone, hair and tissue – left in surgical tools is one source of infection. There are many challenges associated with the manual cleaning of surgical tools and reusable medical devices, including:

  • The design of the instrumentautomated surgical instrument washers clean better than manual cleaning process
  • Insufficient cleaning instructions from the manufacturer
  • Acumen or motivation of the sterile processing department
  • Manual processes that cannot be accurately repeated
  • Bioburden setting in prior to cleaning
  • Special challenges with suction tubes and laparoscopic devices that have long lumens

Although reusable device manufacturers often provide a flushing port for their instruments, the instructions rely on manual flushing which results in a low-flow flush with no direct physical cleaning. Given the nature of soil presented to these devices in surgery, the manual flushing method is not a highly effective method for cleaning and is not condusive to preventing HAIs.

Automated Surgical Instrument Washer for Cleaning Reusable Medical Devices

Our solution to these challenges is the Tempest automated surgical instrument washer. The instrument washer is designed to replace this manual process with an automated one and introduces a unique air injected flushing system. In studies done by Nelson Labs, the Tempest has achieved 6 log reductions in bacteria levels. The Tempest washer eliminates human errors and offers a high powered internal cleaning of surgical tools and reusable medical devices.

The Tempest uses numerous processes and advanced technology including:automated surgical instrument washers clean using baskets and tubes

  • Heated water
  • Pre-determined ratio of enzymatic cleaner
  • Ultrasonic generation
  • Interior lumen flush
  • Varying intervals with enzymatic solution
  • Air injection bubble cavitation stream
  • Interior and exterior rinse with heated water
  • Rinse cycle with highly filtered and ozonated pure water

The Tempest automated surgical instrument washer can be used for all types of surgical tools and reusable medical devices, including cannulated instruments, suction tubes, endoscopy devices, kerrisons, laparoscopic instruments, robot arms, and more.

Contact Us for Midbrook Automated Surgical Instrument Washers

Southwest Solutions Group® provides automated surgical instrument washers to sterile processing departments in all types of healthcare facilities. To learn more about how this product can help in the fight against preventing HAIs, give us a call at 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message.


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