Behind every physician, every nurse, every healer on the front lines of patient care every day, there are two important but often overlooked teams of professionals: healthcare supply chain and sterile processing.
The Health Care Supply Chain
The ability of clinicians to deliver patient care safely, securely, efficiently, and on time is quite literally in the hands of the people in charge of acquiring, preparing, maintaining, and delivering the needed instruments and supplies, in perfect condition, sterile, and when and where they are needed.
The backbone of our modern healthcare system, the supply chain ensures that providers and patients have the resources they need, on-time, every time. In a 2020 survey, healthcare CEOs ranked supply chain optimization as their second-highest priority — right behind patient safety — for many good reasons. Constantly challenged, supply chain professionals must be resilient and creative, have strong business acumen, including the ability to quickly identify qualitative and quantitative improvement opportunities and implement solutions through technology and logistics, all while keeping costs in check. More than ever before, these skills have been put to the test during the COVID 19 pandemic.
National Health Care Supply Chain Week[i] (October 2-8, 2022) is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these healthcare supply chain professionals and to honor them for their exceptional contributions to patient care and the innovative ways in which they support their health care organizations and communities.
If the surgical instrument that is delivered on time, to the right OR, at the right time, for the right physician, has not been properly maintained or sterilized, all the skills and preparation of the clinical staff, and all the efforts of everyone in the supply chain have gone for naught. This critical role is the responsibility of the sterile processing teams.
The importance of handwashing, disinfection, and sterilization to prevent infections in a hospital setting cannot be overstated. That said, sterile processing (the method by which medical and surgical instruments are cleaned and sterilized) is perhaps the most important component in reducing the perpetuation of Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAIs) — and specifically Surgical Site Infections (SSIs). Thanks to the tireless efforts and dedication of sterile processing professionals, the incidence of SSIs was down in 2020[ii] (the most recent year for which numbers are available), despite the COVID pandemic.
The second Sunday of October each year marks the start of Sterile Processing Week (formerly ‘International Central Service Week’), a period of time set aside to specifically honor the outstanding achievements of these dedicated professionals.
Ternio invites you to join in extending thanks and recognition to those committed specialists that fill our healthcare system’s Supply Chain and Sterile Processing departments. Their skill and dedication continue to make a huge and positive difference in patient care. We celebrate their outstanding achievements this month, and year-round!