Every day at the MGH, more than 20,000 instruments and medical devices are used in patient care. On April 1, the hospital will introduce a new purchasing process for reusable critical or semi-critical devices, such as surgical instruments and endoscopes. This also includes the purchase of all necessary reprocessing equipment to ensure these medical instruments are properly cleaned, disinfected and sterilized.

“Across the institution, more procedures are being performed using instruments and devices that require reprocessing,” says Wilton Levine, MD, medical director for Perioperative Services and Medical Procedural Areas. “It is important that we offer the needed support, education and training to all role groups performing reprocessing in order to provide the best care for our patients.”

Any unit seeking new, replacement or expansion of reusable critical or semi-critical instruments and devices must complete a Pre-Purchase Assessment and submit it to the newly formed Reusable Instrument and Device Oversight Committee for approval. The committee is composed of staff from Infection Control, Center for Sterile Processing, Biomedical Engineering, Planning and Construction and Environmental Safety.

“The group will review requests in a timely manner and provide the education and consultation to ensure the requisite physical space, supplies, staffing and capabilities are available,” Levine says.

“Our No. 1 goal is patient safety,” says Erica Shenoy, MD, PhD, associate chief, Infection Control Unit. “Through the Reusable Instrument and Device Oversight Committee, clinicians and operations staff will have access to the support needed to ensure that reusable instruments and devices are correctly reprocessed between patient use. We know that breaches in these processes can result in risk of transmission of pathogens between patients.”

For more information about this new policy or process, contact HLD_Sterilization@partners.org.

This article was originally published in the 03/22/19 Hotline issue.