In the medical services sector, one of the most crucial aspects of any unit is patient safety.
In particular, the sterile services or endoscope reprocessing units play a vital role in protecting against infection by ensuring that all surgical and related equipment is processed to the correct standards.
The equipment used to perform this disinfection and sterilisation is highly-specialised, and requires regular testing and validation.
In this article, we’ll unpack not only the reasons why validation services are crucial in protecting standards, but also what key tests our team of qualified engineers performs on a regular basis to ensure our clients meet and exceed these standards.
Disinfection and sterilisation: Let’s begin with the ‘why’...
Patient Safety: The primary concern of healthcare facilities is patient safety. Regular validations ensure that the processes and equipment used in sterile service departments and endoscope reprocessing units consistently meet the required standards for effective disinfection and sterilisation. Inadequate reprocessing of medical instruments, especially endoscopes, can lead to infections and other health risks for patients.
Regulatory Compliance: Healthcare facilities are subject to strict regulations and guidelines set forth by health authorities and professional organisations.
Quality Assurance: Validations help ensure that the reprocessing processes are consistent and reliable over time. Quality assurance is critical in maintaining the integrity of medical devices by preventing any compromises in their functionality.
Risk Management: Regular validations help identify potential risks and deficiencies in reprocessing equipment, allowing for timely corrective actions to be taken.
Process Improvement: Validations involve testing and monitoring various aspects of the reprocessing procedures, such as cleaning, disinfection, and sterilisation. The data collected during these validations can be used to identify areas for improvement, optimise processes, and implement best practices, leading to more efficient and effective reprocessing methods.
Data-Driven Decision Making: Validations provide quantifiable data on the performance of reprocessing equipment and procedures. This data can be used to make informed decisions about equipment maintenance, replacement, and process adjustments to ensure consistent quality outcomes.
Professional Accountability: Sterile service departments and endoscope reprocessing units have a responsibility to uphold the highest standards of care. Regular validations demonstrate their commitment to professional accountability and maintaining a safe healthcare environment for patients and staff.
Documentation and Auditing: Decontamination departments require thorough documentation of validation results to demonstrate the consistent meeting of parameters.. This documentation is essential for internal quality audits, external inspections, and overall accountability.
All the equipment used in the disinfection and sterilisation process, including Endoscope Washer Disinfectors (EWD’s), Washer-Disinfectors and Sterilisers need to be tested daily, weekly, quarterly and annually to ensure that they are operating optimally and meet the required standards.
Performing these tests is a complex task that requires the appropriate training and certification – all equipment operators and engineers must have be adequately trained to do so.
AVM Services: A full solution supplier
For medical departments who perform disinfection and sterilisation services and require validation testing and more, AVM offers a unique team of engineers who are trained and certified to perform all required tests. AVM’s engineers are able to perform validations on a wide variety of decontamination equipment, helping departments achieve a comprehensive standard of disinfection and sterilisation.
AVM is a dedicated decontamination department within the NHS, and is thus able to offer objective, practical and impartial reports that focus solely on accuracy, maintenance of standards, performance, minimising risk and maximising efficiency.
AVM engineers are also trained to work on multiple different types of machines, and are solely focused validating devices, allowing them to highlight any errors that cycle/equipment holds.