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Santagati Center’s Streamlined Process for Prepping Instruments and Supplies

While the state-of-the-art surgical suites on the third floor of the Santagati Center have been garnering rave reviews from surgeons and staff, what’s happening one floor below—well out of the spotlight—also deserves some special recognition.

Coinciding with the opening of the new surgical center in late-April, Lawrence General also launched a new process for storing, tracking, and preparing surgical instruments and supplies. A collaborative effort involving staff from Materials Management and Sterile Processing, the new case picking process, as it is called, marks a significant change to longstanding workflows at Lawrence General and a major leap forward in terms of standardization and efficiency.

"In our old space, the surgical instruments and supplies were stored in the OR itself, and the second shift nurses and surgical techs would pick the cases for the next day’s procedures,” explains Dale Putnam, CRCST, CHL, who manages the Sterile Processing Department. The necessary supplies for each surgical procedure were then placed on a table in the hallway outside the operating room and accessed as needed.

Today, both Sterile Processing and the surgical supplies are located directly below the surgical suites in the Santagati Center and Materials Management has assumed the responsibility for picking cases—as well as monitoring and maintaining inventory. Case carts designed to hold surgical instruments and supplies and a new bar coded inventory control system are also now in use, as are more formalized surgical procedure preference cards noting the supplies needed for each specific case.

To date, Jonathan Wells, Isaac Rodriguez, and Alfredo Hernandez Hernandez from Materials Management are trained in the new picking process and additional staff members will be brought on board in the near future. 

"The way I describe the new process is that we are the prep cooks getting everything ready for the chef,” says Jonathan, who has been serving in his new role since January, training first in the old ORs. “We work hand-in-hand with Sterile Processing and the OR staff to make sure that all the ingredients for each case are ready when needed.” 

While everyone involved in the planning and implementation of the new picking process acknowledges that it will take some fine-tuning before it is fully optimized, all are optimistic it represents a positive culture shift for the hospital.

"This is really the standard for hospitals today and a long-time coming at Lawrence General,” says Dale. “Taking the picking process out of the OR’s hands gives the surgical nurses and OR techs more time for patient care and really streamlines the whole process.”

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