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    Does your stericenter meet SciCan’s SPECs?

    Don't overlook this vital part of your dental practice.

    What is this?Partner Perspectives allows marketers to connect directly with the DPR audience by enabling them to share their content. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Dental Products Report editorial staff or UBM.
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    Partner Perspectives allows marketers to connect directly with the DPR audience by enabling them to share their content. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Dental Products Report editorial staff or UBM.


    SciCan’s SPECs

    Stericenters should be designed to:

    Improve Safety
    Ensure Predictable results
    Maximize Efficiency
    Maintain Compliance

    The stericenter is definitely not as exciting as a shiny new CAD/CAM or 3D radiography unit. This is just one of the many reasons that the instrument processing area, or “stericenter”, is often overlooked and underfunded.  Sometimes it is relegated to the far back of the office in a closet that barely fit the vacuum cleaner and mop bucket that used to be kept there. This is a big mistake because the stericenter is the heart of your practice. All of your instruments need to flow through the stericenter as efficiently as possible to keep your practice operating. Without clean and sterile instruments, your other fancy technology can’t be put to good use, and every area of the practice will end up suffering. Staff will be stressed, patients will be upset that their appointments started late; and further downstream, revenue will suffer. The following is a list of questions, broken out by topic, to help you make smart decisions about designing your stericenter.    

    Stericenter

    Is your stericenter centrally located?

    The CDC recommends that it should be. This is to minimize the distance that contaminated instruments are transported. A centrally located sterilization area also makes it quicker and easier for staff members to reprocess instruments and keep an eye on the process so that issues don’t go unnoticed. When locating your sterilization area within the practice, think about making it a show piece for your office. When patients see a clean and well organized sterilization area, it shows them that their safety is a top priority for your office. This helps differentiate you from the office down the street where instrument cleaning and sterilization is hidden away from patient view.

    Have you allocated enough space to set your stericenter up properly?

    The CDC recommends dividing the instrument processing area into 4 distinct sections.

    1: Receiving, cleaning and decontamination

    2: Preparation and packaging

    3: Sterilization

    4: Sterile storage

    These sections should be divided physically, or at a minimum spatially, to prevent cross-contamination from spray and splatter. Adequate counter space should be provided for staff members to perform necessary duties such as sorting, drying, and packaging instruments, as well as space to unload the autoclave without compromising sterility. It is important to store sterile instruments where they will not become contaminated. Drawers under the counter in sections one through three of the sterilization area are not a good option because contaminated fluids can drip onto them. Dental grade sterilization centers achieve all of these goals and typically last much longer than contractor grade cabinetry. They also have dental specific features that prevent cross-contamination, such as doors the can be opened without touching them. Lastly, make sure to factor in any future growth you anticipate. If you plan to bring in specialists a few days a week or plan to add a hygienist or associate, be sure to build in extra space to add cleaning and sterilization capacity when the need arises. 

     

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