Surgical instrument reprocessing in a hospital setting analyzed with statistical process control and data mining techniques
In a healthcare setting, the Sterile Processing Department (SPD) provides ancillary services to the Operating Room (OR), Emergency Room, Labor & Delivery, and off-site clinics. SPD's function is to reprocess reusable surgical instruments and return them to their home departments. The management of surgical instruments and medical devices can impact patient safety and hospital revenue. Any time instrumentation or devices are not available or are not fit for use, patient safety and revenue can be negatively impacted. One step of the instrument reprocessing cycle is sterilization. Steam sterilization is the sterilization method used for the majority of surgical instruments and is preferred to immediate use steam sterilization (IUSS) because terminally sterilized items can be stored until needed. IUSS Items must be used promptly and cannot be stored for later use. IUSS is intended for emergency situations and not as regular course of action. Unfortunately, IUSS is used to compensate for inadequate inventory levels, scheduling conflicts, and miscommunications. If IUSS is viewed as an adverse event, then monitoring IUSS incidences can help healthcare organizations meet patient safety goals and financial goals along with aiding in process improvement efforts. This work recommends statistical process control methods to IUSS incidents and illustrates the use of control charts for IUSS occurrences through a case study and analysis of the control charts for data from a health care provider. Furthermore, this work considers the application of data mining methods to IUSS occurrences and presents a representative example of data mining to the IUSS occurrences. This extends the application of statistical process control and data mining in healthcare applications.