Fairfield Medical Center Continues to Thrive

Six months ago, we wrote about our team’s success in the Central Sterile Department at Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, Ohio. We discussed how the hospital’s physical location was a challenge for staffing because there was, and still is, a lack of knowledge of our profession in the community. Steven Teaford, MA, BS, CRCST, CER, CHL, Manager of Central Sterile Supply at Fairfield Medical Center, took time to update us on the incredible progress they’ve been making since our last highlight on their success.

We discussed the challenges of keeping great team members due to the competition of major hospital systems in the Columbus area. Additionally, over the last year, the hard work that our outstanding team members put in lowered our instrument assembly rate to below 1%. 

Today, we’re still standing firm on eliminating reported errors and maintaining a below than 1% error rate on our assembly process. Despite those challenges, we’ll continue to overcome those opportunities by hiring for personality, educating those team members, and providing them with the tools they need to succeed. 

What Has Happened at Fairfield Medical Center Since Then?

It has been nothing short of exciting for the SpecialtyCare Team, Fairfield Medical Center, and the central Ohio communities that we serve. The following are four significant accomplishments that have been made in the past six months within Central Sterile Processing. 

1. Identified the need for a TD-100 to process TEE Probes for the OR 

Before October, the Central Sterile team identified the need for a TD-100 to process our TEE Probes for the OR vice soaking them. Let the investigation of how to obtain one of these systems begin. After receiving quotes from different companies, we decided we could get one through Centurion Medical using credit from the equipment we turned in from the past, resulting in not having to request capital funds. 

The central sterile team also identified another department that utilized TEE probes during this process. By the end of October, we had installed a TD-100, educated our staff on the utilization of the machine, took on the method of processing the other departments’ TEE probes eliminating soaking of medical equipment for the system.

2. Converted Impress Connect Tracking System to Censitrac

At the beginning of November, Fairfield Medical Center began the preparation of converting our current instrument tracking system from Impress Connect to Censitrac. Some people might say that the conversion should be relatively easy because we already had a tracking system. In some cases, that may be true, but we found our opportunity initially.  

We started with a wall-to-wall inventory to determine how accurate our current list of instrument trays was. Then, we started scrubbing every list we had to ensure clean quality data moved to Censitrac, which took days to complete. Then, we started working on opportunities at our surgery center. This was beneficial since they weren’t using any electronic methods to assemble sets and track instrumentation. 

We spent more days loading and taking inventory of instrument sets to ensure that our data converting to Censitrac was accurate. We started our conversion by the middle of November and were up and running at the primary hospital. We went live at our surgery center on January 1st.  Every staff member received one-on-one training on this new system, giving them more tools to be successful instrument technicians. This allows us to better track instrumentation to the patients, provide better instrument sets without errors, document sterilization load data, provide statistical data, and process improvement in inventory control.

Although the entire Central Sterile team spent many hours preparing and training for this conversion, we couldn’t be as successful as we were without the assistance from the OR team leaders helping us clean up the instrument count sheets.

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3. Purchased Necessary Equipment for Robotic System 

During the tracking system installation, I was walking from the cafeteria when the hospital Chief Financial Officer met me. He said, “Hey Steve, I have some great news for you. I just approved all the paperwork to purchase all needed equipment for our Robotic system. I need you to have all of the equipment ordered and ready to go by the middle of December.”

I remember thinking to myself, “That’s good news? We aren’t even finished with the tracking system yet!” This was great news as Fairfield Medical was one of the last hospitals in the area to offer robotic surgery. Another challenge presented itself, and the Central Sterile Department accepted the challenge and exceeded expectations again. 

As a team, we had to review and obtain quotes for new Sterrad equipment, a new Sonic Washer, and a new sink that would allow us to clean all of these robotic pieces. By December 25, all of these items were delivered and installed. However, this time was just the beginning of preparing for this new system. Next came ordering robotic arms containers, reviewing instrument sets, and adding all of this to our instrument tracking system. We were getting a little tired and just wanted to enjoy the holiday season. But, the team worked through it and was able to obtain everything we needed to start, except for one thing — training the staff on how the equipment and robotic pieces are cleaned and processed. 

4. Completed the First Successful Robotic Surgery and Obtained the New ION Robotic System

By January 5, we completed our first successful robotic procedure, processing the instrumentation without error. We continue to process these instruments with no issues as our case volume grows.

Nearly two and a half months later, we thought we had overcome the training and implementation of the TD-100 TEE Probe installation and the Xi Robotic System. Now, it was time to take a step back to reflect and relax for a moment. However, that wasn’t the case as we were instructed to begin preparing for the new ION Robotic System. Fairfield Medical would be one of three hospitals in Ohio to have this system. How rewarding for Fairfield Medical Center and the community, knowing they now can detect lung cancer in its early stage, making cancer more treatable! 

This meant ordering equipment and educating and training staff on the proper cleaning of this equipment. We installed another system, 1E, which we had removed due to lack of use and all of the other equipment needed to process these items. We met that challenge by January 7, when we had our first three cases. We trained our staff on the proper cleaning and processing of these items and are now ready to have the ION items ready when needed successfully. 

Fairfield Medical Center Makes Notable Accomplishments 

These are extraordinary accomplishments for our team at Fairfield Medical Center. Even more impressive was that the team worked with only 10 of the 16 staff members needed to run the department due to staffing challenges, as many other organizations were facing.  

The extended overtime that staff members volunteered to work, the extra shifts they picked up, and the dedication to patient safety that this team has made us so successful. I don’t doubt that our customers within the hospital and the Fairfield County community are receiving the highest quality surgery from a sterile processing standpoint. I truly love this team and the accomplishments that we have achieved over the last six months!