AAMI Enhances Sterilization Benchmarking Tool

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) is adding a powerful new component to its Sterile Processing Benchmarks (SPB) tool to help departments assess staffing needs and productivity levels.

This May, AAMI will add productivity analysis and error rate tools to SPB, a web-based platform designed to help sterile processing departments measure their practices, policies, and resources against others.

While the original SPB tool provides some information on staffing, the new productivity feature will take it to another level in terms of usefulness, says Donna Swenson, a sterile processing veteran and member of several AAMI sterilization standards committees.

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 SPBs new productivity analysis tool, typical tasks are organized into four categories of complexity.

For each category, SPB subject matter experts have estimated the amount of staff time necessary, on average, to reprocess the package, set, or tray correctly, including in most cases all of the steps (cleaning/decontamination, packaging, sterilization).

Using this new feature, the number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) needed to complete a processing workload will be automatically calculated. 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).

Another feature to be added to SPB is an error rate tool, which will provide a mechanism to track and calculate the overall error rate of a sterile processing department. Since different departments calculate error rates in different ways, the new error rate tool will help ensure that error rate information is interpreted consistently across different facilities.

To subscribe to SPB or for more information, visit www.aami.org/spb.