Two Organizations Partner to Strengthen Benchmarking for Sterilization Community

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Two major healthcare organizations are joining forces to provide comprehensive benchmarking data to sterile processing departments at healthcare facilities around the world.

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) and the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM)  are teaming up to enhance and promote Benchmarking Solutions—Sterile Processing, a web-based platform that helps sterile processing departments compare their budgets, personnel, practices, and policies with those at other facilities.

AAMI launched the online benchmarking platform nearly two years ago. Now by collaborating with IAHCSMM, the benchmarking tool promises to be even more robust. The collaboration is important because the two organizations have a combined membership of more than 26,000, which will help attract more subscribers and generate more benchmarking data.

Through this collaboration, members of AAMI or IAHCSMM will receive special discounts to subscribe annually to the benchmarking platform. Individuals can order the benchmarking platform by either calling 877-249-8226 or visiting www.aami.org/spb/orderform.html. The order code is: SPB.

In addition, AAMI and IAHCSMM have formed a 12-person task force to oversee the benchmarking platform, review the benchmarking survey and platform annually, and recommend enhancements. Rose Seavey, a sterilization consultant who will serve on the task force, called the collaboration “a great step toward bringing quality to sterile processing.”

“It will give those in the field some ‘ammunition’ to get the tools and resources they need to provide safe and efficient patient care,” adds Seavey. “Being able to compare a facility to like facilities will produce extremely useful real benchmarking data for such thing as budgets, equipment, practices, and staffing.  That is the kind of data that healthcare administrations will listen to.”
 
The platform features more than 130 benchmarking and best practice measurements. It includes as an easy-to-use tool to help in the analysis of benchmarking data. Developed by leading sterilization and software experts, the benchmarking surveyexamines several critical elements of a facility’s sterile processing program:
•Budgeting and financial
•Sterilization practices
•Compliance
•Volume and types of work performed
•Clinical relationships
•Best practices and performance improvement
•Purchasing decisions and participation on committees
•Responsibilities and reporting structures
•Staffing, qualifications, continuing education, and much more

Once a subscriber has entered his or her facility’s data anonymously, the subscriber can then compare the facility against others and customize the results for a particular region, type, or size. Tools and charts display the results in a colorful and easy-to-understand fashion. Subscribers receive access to the benchmarking platform for a full year; the ability to update, revise, and compare their data throughout the year; and access to sterilization colleagues and experts through a listserv.

Last May, a powerful new productivity component was added to the benchmarking platform to help departments assess staffing needs and productivity levels.

Sterile processing staffing needs and productivity levels depend not only on the volume of tasks performed, but also on the complexity of those tasks. In the productivity analysis tool, typical sterile processing tasks are organized into four categories of complexity. For each category, subject matter experts have estimated the amount of staff time necessary, on average, to complete the package, set, or tray correctly, including in most cases all processing steps (cleaning/decontamination, packaging, sterilization).

Using this feature, a subscriber can gain useful information in determining the number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) needed to accomplish a processing workload. Adding in the number of hours committed to administrative work yields the total number of FTEs the department should have, as well as a current productivity value. In addition, the overall workload intensity is calculated, allowing comparisons to be made between facilities with similar kinds of workloads (in terms of both volume and complexity).

The sterilization benchmarking tool was created in collaboration with software developer, Dynamic Benchmarking.

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