Digital revolution sweeps sterilising departments

A standardised, digital approach to tracking all theatre instruments through hospital sterilisation processes has revolutionised the behind-the-scenes department in St John of God Health Care surgical hospitals.

18 October 2018 

The $1.6 million investment to install Instacount software and associated digital hardware into St John of God Health Care’s 13 surgical hospitals was completed in early 2018, with the program now used to track all instruments as they are processed through central sterilising services departments (CSSD).

St John of God Mt Lawley Hospital Chief Executive Officer Chris Hanna said the software not only brought all hospitals in line with the latest Australian Standards for washing and sterilising reusable medical devices, but also brought about efficiencies.

“It really was a far reaching change in order to introduce new equipment and policies and update our practices so they are contemporary and meet our doctors’ needs,” she said.

“The digital solution has reduced the manual requirements of tracking and monitoring equipment through CSSD, bringing about efficiencies which, I believe, allow us to have more time to seek other opportunities to improve our practice and focus on caring for our patients at the bedside.

“There was true celebration by everyone within our CSSDs and our theatres in acknowledging the investment into this new technology and associated processes that St John of God Health Care has made which revolutionises their work.”

St John of God Subiaco Hospital Perioperative Resources Manager David Nash said efficient CSSDs were essential to ensuring theatres run effectively.

“CSSD is where all instruments used in surgery are washed, packed and sterilised,” he said.

“If the theatre is the engine room of the hospital, then the CSSD is the oil and gas that powers the engine, so it is really important everything is running as smoothly as possible within the department.”

David said the transformative effect of this new technology not only brought about efficiencies for the department as a whole but for each individual caregiver working within the department.