Digital traceability: a strategic ally in infection prevention and control

Enfermera colocando un paquete en autoclave de vapor para esterilizarlo. La trazabilidad digital es una aliada en la prevención de infecciones.

Traceability plays an important role in preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and containing the spread of microorganisms in healthcare facilities.

Health as a fundamental right is composed of a series of stages that together work to achieve optimal patient care. The health service seeks to optimize the time and quality of patient care.

In this sense, digital traceability has become an essential tool for hospital management, particularly for hospital infection control and prevention. Tracking medical devices and surgical instruments, from their manufacturing to their use in a procedure, allows for greater efficiency in process management and early identification of potential sources of infection.

Benefits of traceability of surgical instruments and medical devices

Computer traceability systems play an important role in infection surveillance, as they allow to take preventive measures that substantially improve patient safety. In turn, the quality of care is enhanced by features such as incident and failure monitoring, analytical tools for strategic management and full traceability all the way to the patient.

The following are the main benefits of implementing this tool in the healthcare field:

1. Early identification of defective or poorly sterilized medical devices.

Digital traceability allows hospitals to take rapid action to remove defective or poorly sterilized medical devices from circulation and prevent their use in future procedures, thus reducing the risk of nosocomial infections in patients. In this way, defective batches are quickly identified for recall, and it is also possible to know at what stage in the chain the fault arose.

2. Greater efficiency in inventory management

Digital traceability enables greater efficiency in the management of medical devices and surgical instruments inventory. This includes the quick identification of devices that need to be replaced or repaired, as well as their location and available stock, among other features. Hospital-wide inventory control is a key factor when it comes to choosing a traceability system. Efficient management allows for better planning of purchases. As a result, costs are reduced: this is a critical point, given that surgical instruments are among the top 5 most valuable assets for hospitals.

3. Full traceability all the way to the patient

Access to medical procedure data facilitates full traceability all the way to the patient by incorporating management tools to record all the activities performed on the hospital materials and tasks. The benefits of full traceability all the way to the patient for infection prevention and control are manifold:

  • Processes are centralized and standardized, which is key to achieving quality management.
  • Key data for patient safety can be known, ranging from the history of the medical device that was used in a certain procedure, for example, a specific surgery, to its trajectory or current location.
  • Traceability inside and outside the CSSD guarantees compliance with each of the stages, in a timely manner, maximizing patient safety.

4. Improved quality of patient care

Digital traceability improves the quality of care and the hospital’s reputation by reducing the length of hospital stay and the inconvenience caused by defective devices.

5. Data analysis for management

Self-manageable statistics allow automatic reporting on processes, quality, costs, patients and medical supplies. In turn, analytics tools can identify patterns and trends to make strategic decisions within hospitals and clinics. This is a data-driven approach that enables healthcare organizations to achieve better quality of care through the analysis of actionable metrics.

I want to implement digital traceability in my hospital

Implementing digital traceability requires an initial investment in technology and staff trained in its use. However, the long-term benefits in infection prevention and control justify this investment. At Interlab we offer a scalable technological solution to adapt to different hospitals, considering their particular needs and being strategic partners in the management of the total stock of instruments and medical devices. Contact us and ask for a demo.