Roller conveyors can transport containers and baskets with sterile instruments in and out of the sterile buffer.
Hygiene is paramount in a Sterile Processing Department. You can significantly elevate the hygiene level by automating processes, such as the sterilization storage.
The foremost task in a Sterile Processing Department is to ensure that surgical instruments are cleaned, functional, and, above all, sterile. It’s about patient safety, so it’s not a task taken lightly.
It’s unavoidable that there’s a need for humans in a Sterile Processing Department; for example, to check if the instruments are functioning. However, there are functions in the Sterile Processing Department that can be advantageously automated, benefiting both staff and patients.
Same task, same result
One of the strengths of automation is that tasks are performed the same way every time. Consequently, with the same outcome.
This can be leveraged when containers or wire baskets need to be washed and placed on washing racks. It’s crucial for hygiene that containers and baskets are properly placed on the washing racks so that all areas are cleaned.
By using a robot for the task, containers and baskets are placed uniformly each time, optimizing the use of the washing rack.
Robots can also be used to open and empty case carts with dirty surgical equipment. This way, the staff avoids potential exposure to contamination. Additionally, the risk of ergonomic strains is minimized because the staff doesn’t have to manually remove containers, trays, or baskets.
Automate the storage
Another obvious area to automate is the sterile storage. This is where instruments are kept after sterilization until they are needed again for a new operation.
Therefore, it’s crucial that the area – or the individual containers or baskets – remains sterile.
This can be achieved by automating the area. In fact, it can be done so that humans don’t need to enter the sterile storage.
The containers with sterilized instruments are transported into the sterile storage using conveyors, where a warehouse robot takes them and places them on available shelves. Likewise, they are retrieved and transported out of storage when needed for an operation.
This can be combined with a robot placing the containers or baskets in a case cart outside the storage and then closing the cart doors.
This ensures that the sterile environment is maintained until the operating room.
Of course, there are many other automation possibilities in a Sterile Processing Department, and they all contribute in one way or another to maintaining or improving the sterile environment necessary in the department.
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