Wednesday, 03 March 2021 13:01

Is there a sterilization wrap shortage?

Reduce supply chain worries with reusable containers

 

In 2020, Case Medical faced shortages of raw materials, canisters to package our infection prevention products, and even disposable wipe materials. We learned that we needed options, alternative sources of supply, and even new equipment. We decided to invest in a wet wipe machine and filter cutting equipment so we could better meet needs within the healthcare industry.

Blue wrapped sets on a shelfRecently, we spotted some Facebook chatter about facilities having trouble getting various sizes of sterilization wrap. This is similar (and related) to other supply chain challenges that have arisen throughout the pandemic, especially with masks, respirators, wipes, and surgical gowns. Though your wrap orders may be filled at 80% allocation, running 80% of surgeries IS NOT an option. Fortunately, Case Medical offers you an option—with universally compatible, reusable sterilization containers.

The right time to start is now

Sealed container systems are commonly known to save time and money, though some are concerned about taking on a large conversion project. You can keep your department and the OR running smoothly, without depending on your wrap supplier, and it’s not as overwhelming as you may think. Some commenters on Facebook had the same idea.

“Yes it would be a good time to switch to sterilization containers. Better for the earth too.. less trash.”

“Put as many things in pans as you can to save on [wrap]”

SteriTite container for loaner set drop inWhen transitioning from sterilization wrap to containers, many of our customers start small. For instance, some facilities allocate a certain percentage of their wrap budget to invest in containers. Others focus on their loaners, finding it much easier to manage loaner sets by dropping them into containers. Containerizing loaners eliminates surgical delays when staff find wet packs or holes or tears in wrap that require reprocessing. Either way, we can help you create a plan that works for your budget and your workflow.

Trim healthcare waste and spend

Reduce healthcare wasteAs an added bonus, moving to more sterilization containers will reduce waste. According to one source, the healthcare industry discards 255 million pounds of blue wrap each year. But it’s not just an environmental win, because waste is costly, too. Many people we speak to are surprised at how quickly a container purchase can reach ROI and begin to save your department money. For instance, one facility’s purchase of 224 sterilization containers saved their hospital ~$100,000 annually.

For additional assurance that you can continue processing sets, even in the event of a shortage of nonwoven materials, consider keeping some FlashTite® filter-less valve plates on hand. Yes, your existing SteriTite filtered container can convert easily to a reusable valve system. SteriTite containers, when fitted with FlashTite valve plates, are 510k cleared for steam IUSS cycles. Give them three minutes of dry time and the contents are virtually dry and safe for use and transport. FlashTite valves provide you with the alternative you may be looking for when wrap or even filters are in short supply. 

Made in America

Case Medical is a US manufacturer of quality products for sterile processing and infection prevention. In pre-pandemic times, most healthcare purchasers didn’t consider where Logistics and Supply Chaintheir products were made. With supply chain challenges, more companies are looking for US-based suppliers to increase reliability and decrease delivery time. The US government, including the VA Health System, actively seeks products that are made in the USA.

USAGet in touch with your Procurement or Logistics contact to understand the policies and considerations in your facility. If you are looking to increase sourcing from the US, know that all Case Medical products are manufactured in our FDA-registered, ISO-certified facility in Bloomfield, NJ.

Get started

now-1272358_1280If you want to talk with someone about how your department can get started with a phased transition from wrap to containers, please send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact your local Case Medical representative.

 

Published in News

Three best practices you can implement right now

 

The federal government has penalized 774 hospitals for having the highest rates of patient infections or other potentially avoidable medical complications. The patient Loss chart over picture of MRSA bacteriasafety penalties cost hospitals 1 percent of Medicare payments over the federal fiscal year (Oct to Sept). These penalties come under the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, a program that attracts criticism from some hospital leaders.

Whatever your thoughts on the program, setting improvement goals is a big part of driving change. Measuring where you are, setting a goal, and making a step-by-step plan for how to achieve it can help you take control of—and improve—any situation you face.

Infection prevention

Illustration circle and line through germOn any given day, one in every 31 hospital patients has an infection that was contracted during their stay. Infections and other complications can prolong hospital stays, complicate treatments and, in the worst instances, kill patients.

Although sterile processing personnel may never see these patients, we know they’re always on your mind. Infection prevention depends upon maintaining consistently high standards of practice, requiring you to perform each task as intended each time, which drives predictable results. How does your facility measure up on these best practices?

    1. Consistent, effective pretreatment at point-of-use – When instruments arrive in your department, are they jumbled and covered in blood and other soil? Or are they rinsed clean with an effective pretreatment applied? Work with your perioperative teams to select an effective pretreatment that makes decontamination faster and easier. Measure how much time you can shave off your decontamination process with a U.S. EPA Safer Choice labelled pretreatment that starts cleaning for you.
      Point-of-use treatment with PentaPrep Multi-Enzymatic Spray - Case Medical (1)
    2. Rigid containers for loaner sets – Loaner sets can take an outsized amount of staff time and cause real disruption when holes are discovered in sterilization wrap. Facilities often process two full loaner sets to have backup for that inevitable moment. Now you can avoid doing double work and save reprocessing time and money!

      Transition to SteriTite® rigid containers, especially for those bulky Ortho/Spine sets, and you don’t have to worry about OR delays. Shift just a small portion of your wrap budget to begin building a stable of rigid containers for loaners—so you can drop-in and go, eliminating both wrapping time and delays due to holes in wrapped sets. After all, Case Medical manufactures the world’s only universal sealed container designed for loaners and made in the USA.
      SteriTite container for loaner set drop in

    3. Clear, permanent biohazard indicators for case carts – OSHA and AAMI call for soiled instruments to be clearly labeled as biohazard when transported from a surgical or procedure location to decontamination. Stop fussing with the waste and unreliability of paper signs attached to case carts or in plastic pockets.

      SteriTite® Disposition Monitors are long-lasting, reusable monitors that easily mount on the outside of any case cart to show healthcare staff whether the contents inside are soiled or clean and ready to go to the next procedure room. Compliance is a matter of staff safety and required by law; disposition monitors can help you achieve 100% compliance. Now available with an easy to assemble mounting plate for open case carts (upon request).
      SteriTite Disposition Monitor for open or closed case carts

Where will you start?

Register now Maintenance for Optimal Operating Conditions CE webinarThere is no time like the present to set goals for better sterile processing performance and optimal patient outcomes. What are your goals for this quarter or this year? We can help with validated products, and services such as assessments, evaluations, education, and help with data analytics to meet quality metrics. We can help you, too. Contact us today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Register now for our next webinar “Maintenance for Optimal Operating Efficiency” March 4 at 11am EST. Learn how to transition to a paperless maintenance plan for continuous improvement and accountability.

 

Published in News

SteriTite containers can relieve the pressure of the wrap shortage

 

The current sterilization wrap supply shortage is concerning for many health systems and facilities. Originally designed in the 1990s as an alternative to wrapped trays, SteriTite® containers are now, in 2021, very much a part of the solution. After a significant drop in non-emergent surgeries throughout 2020, the backlog of demand is expected to push 2021 surgical volume up by 28% compared to 2019 pre-pandemic levels. This is no time for disruptions to the surgical schedule.

Fortunately, there are ways to strategically address this supply chain disruption while keeping the OR happy and productive. Check out these opportunities to containerize your highest priority instruments sets.

Where to start: Loaners

SteriTite Container Loaner Drop-inSome of the most challenging and wrap-intensive sets are those that walk through your front door 48 hours before a surgery—loaner sets. In particular, heavy ortho/spine sets use the largest volume of wrap and duplicate wrapped sets are common, as extra insurance against tears in wrap and surgical disruption. With more than half of instruments unused, just as a baseline, loaners are a perfect target to begin converting from wrap to rigid containers.

SteriTite Lid Filter Retention Plate Square-1SteriTite® containers are DIN sized and originally designed for loaners sets. Our product specialists have decades of experience solving problems by helping you select the right assortment of containers for loaners and other procedure trays. With lost-lasting, quality construction, rivetless case assembly, and offset filter retention plates to prevent strikethrough and cross contamination, SteriTite containers can eliminate the double work of processing two wrapped sets of loaner instruments and even provide quicker turns.

Convert high-turn sets

You know just the sets, the ones that, as soon as they enter decontam, are fast-tracked to make sure they’re ready for the next surgery. Convert those sets to containers to eliminate wrapping, save time, and make sure these critical instruments are protected and secured. In fact, SteriTite containers, when used with our paper filters in steam sterilization cycles, are cleared for minimum 5 to 8 minute dry times. It’s true! Here are the details.

Reduced Dry Time Claim for Pre-Vacuum Steam Sterilization:
5-8 minute dry timeSteriTite® containers previously cleared for terminal and IUSS (flash) steam sterilization may be used for storage and transport after steam sterilization with a reduced dry time. Dry loads will be achieved using a minimum of 5 minutes dry time when using perforated bottom units and a minimum of 8 minutes dry time when using solid bottom units.

Insurance policy

FlashTite ValveIn the spirit of being prepared, there is one more tip that you might find valuable. Did you know that we offer filter-less valves for steam sterilization cycles? FlashTite® Valve Plates are designed as an alternative option to the SteriTite filter assembly for IUSS steam sterilization. It’s smart and convenient to keep these on hand for those emergencies where IUSS is appropriate and wrap even less available.

We certainly hope that the wrap shortage is resolved soon without further disruption. We also hope that we’ve piqued your interest about the benefits of taking a staged approach to converting your surgical instrument sets to rigid reusable containers. I won’t even go monkey-152685_1280into the potential cost savings, the positive environmental effects, or the many other benefits, though you can read more if you like. Think about the security of having fewer items on your list of concerns each day. And say goodbye to the monkey and its wrench.

Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get started.

 

Published in News
Copyright © 2021 Case Medical. All Rights Reserved.