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Collaborating Across Campuses: Central Processing Departments Work as One

The Central Processing Department (CPD) is often referred to as the heart of the hospital, receiving, sterilizing and deploying instrumentation needed in the operating rooms and other procedural areas. At both Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, CPD staff and their leadership teams do the vital and intricate work needed to fuel their respective hospitals. Now, the two campuses are collaborating on a new level to share best practices and resources, all with the aim of improving care for patients across the Brigham family.

Historically, the two departments have functioned relatively independently. However, as more and more surgeons and other providers travel back and forth between the two campuses, the need to streamline and standardize operations has become apparent.

“One area we are looking to standardize is our process around booking equipment and preference cards,” says Sara Lourie, Central Processing Department Manager at BWFH. “All surgeons complete preference cards for each of the procedures they perform where they outline exactly what they need for each procedure they will perform in our operating rooms. Codes are then assigned so that we know exactly what to put in each case. We are working to standardize the codes used at both BWFH and BWH to make the booking process easier for our surgeons.”

Another area of focus across the two campuses is metrics. By measuring the same things in the same manner, the two campuses can better align and both can improve operations. They are also standardizing the way sterile equipment is transported between hospitals, allowing for easy sharing of resources. If a surgeon needs a highly specialized instrument, the campuses can transport it back and forth rather than both campuses purchasing their own, often resulting in cost savings.

“For the first time, largely as a result of supply shortages experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are really beginning to think of each other as one team,” says Lourie. “When the main campus had an urgent need for wraps that we had in stock, we sent them right over. And when our team here needed a certain type of gloves, the main campus was happy to share their stock with us. It’s been mutually beneficial for us to work as one.”

The work currently being done to synergize CPD at BWFH and BWH is just the beginning. Lourie says they are laying the groundwork for collaboration and standardization across Mass General Brigham. “Management from across MGB CPD now meets each week,” she says. We’ve begun by focusing on alignment opportunities, but it’s become an important forum to share best practices. And now that we are better united with BWH and done a lot of the work around standardization across our two campuses, we have a lot to bring to the table at the MGB level.”

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