Why is water system monitoring so important in central sterile processing?
First, it’s important to know who is responsible for the water system at your facility. One or more departments could have ownership or oversight of the water system, from facilities and maintenance to biomed and sterile processing. At the end of the day, the sterile processing department should have ownership of the quality of water being used in their process.
Inferior water quality can lead to numerous issues, including rusting, corrosion, discoloration and pitting of instruments. This can in turn lead to disposal, rework and can affect patient safety. Poor water quality can also cause issues with washers and sterilizers, leading to frequent or unplanned maintenance and downtime.
Monitoring the system to make sure the basic water quality parameters are being met is critical to system performance. Continuous remote monitoring ensures the water quality is consistent and meets or exceeds the standards set forth by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI).
Can you explain the AAMI ST1081 Standard around water system maintenance and monitoring?
Most sterile processing professionals were familiar with the AAMI TIR34 water quality specifications but are less knowledgeable about the new ANSI/AAMI ST108 standard that was published in August 2023.
The new standard continues to be devoted to monitoring water quality, which includes parameters and suggested frequencies for testing and service.
ST108 also defines the specific variables you should be checking for: hardness, pH, conductivity, alkalinity, and testing for bacteria and endotoxins. It is also important to monitor the pressure drop across filters, noting any abrupt changes that could be indicative of an issue.
What next steps can SPD professionals take?
Sterile processing professionals should familiarize themselves with the water system maintenance and monitoring section of ST108. They can also partner with a provider that has in-depth knowledge of the guidelines and can provide subject matter expertise on water treatment, maintenance, and monitoring.
This can provide peace of mind that their water system is operating within the current guidelines. It also reduces the need for personnel to routinely check the water system for quality and performance metrics, giving more time back to focus on their primary objectives.
How can Evoqua help?
Evoqua Water Technologies is a global company with more than 40 years of experience in system design and development for a wide range of healthcare applications. We have in-depth knowledge of ST108 standard and central sterile processing applications.
Our Vantage® SPD and Vantage® ASC high purity water system with digital remote monitoring ensures compliance by continuously monitoring key water quality and performance metrics. Advanced data analytics allow us to proactively predict service or maintenance and minimize downtime for the sterile processing department. Evoqua will also provide a monthly report that can be used during an audit to demonstrate system performance.
How can SPD Professionals get started?
Familiarize yourself with the water system you currently have, including the water quality parameters, operation, and maintenance requirements.
Contact Evoqua for a free evaluation of your current water system and monitoring procedures. You can also reach out to us with any questions you might have about AAMI ST108 and ensuring water quality for your sterile processing department.
About the Author
Penny Mancini, Strategic Business Development Manager, Healthcare
Penny has over 25 years of experience in water treatment with a focus in Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences. She also has a bachelor’s degree in Biosystems and Agriculture Engineering.
Connect with Penny Mancini via email.
1ANSI/AAMI ST108: 2023 - Water for the processing of medical devices