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Central Processing Department integrates instrument tracking system with electronic medical record

Care Redesign and Innovation

In the Central Processing Department, Central Sterile Manager Michael Viveiros and his staff decontaminate, clean, test, package and sterilize all the instruments used in the clinics and operating rooms at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, as well as deliver all instrumentation to the OR. There are roughly 800 unique kit types and single instruments totaling over 1,500 items that must be tracked. With the help of SPM, the department’s instrument tracking system, the process is efficient, accurate and safe. Recently, SPM was integrated with Epic, our electronic medical record program, improving the workflow and patient safety even further.

Now that SPM is integrated with Epic, a first for Partners HealthCare IS, surgical kits can be tied to a patient’s medical record number. “I can now track an individual kit to an individual patient,” explains Viveiros. “I can go back as far as our go-live date when the kits started being tied to a medical record number. If there is ever an issue, like a post-operative infection, I can see which kits were used on that case, who sterilized them, if all of our biologic testing was completed and verify that everything we did on our end was appropriate.”

While the integration process itself took some time to perfect, the end result makes life in the Central Processing Department more organized. “It pulls in the medical record number from Epic for that patient and populates it into SPM, and then it allows me to create a case cart with all the surgical instruments and disposable items that we provide for the OR. It’s one case for one patient for one surgery. The case carts are barcoded with unique barcodes. We scan the barcode and then we scan the patient medical record number. Now we’ve created a package and everything that gets scanned subsequently is tied to that case cart and that medical record number. That way we can keep track of all of it,” explains Viveiros.

SPM even has reporting that can tell Viveiros what’s missing from a cart. “In theory, I can sit at my desk and see what’s been picked, what still needs to be picked and other items that are missing from the case cart,” he says. “There is no confusion.”

The biggest benefit of integration of the two programs is patient safety, but Viveiros says it’s also about efficiency, allowing him to better manage inventory throughout the day. “We would like to have enough instruments for every case at the beginning of that day, but that’s cost prohibitive. Sometimes we have to reprocess and sterilize items to use them for later cases,” he says. “Now, instruments get picked and recorded onto a case cart. When they come back after use to my decontamination area, the technician there scans the items and they go into the system as being in decontamination. I know where everything is at all times.”

Instrument Tracking System

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