Specializing in oncological treatments, the Fundación Arturo López Pérez (FALP) was the first private hospital in Chile to have full traceability all the way to the patient, from the CSSD to the clinical care offices and the OR.
With more than 50 years of experience, FALP is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide timely access to comprehensive treatment in a highly specialized oncology center. Its health model makes it a reference center in the field, dedicated to diagnosis, treatment, research, and teaching. In addition, it contributes to the development of Chilean oncology with programs of education, prevention, and early detection of cancer.
But the digitized, comprehensive, and full traceability adopted by FALP is an exception: even though 88% of executive-level decision-makers and 86% of physicians surveyed in Latin America agree that traceability and real-time information is essential to provide better patient care, barely 4 out of 10 hospitals in the region invest enough in medical efficiency, according to the 2022 study called “Smarter, More Connected Hospitals”.
Materializing the project of being able to reach each and every patient and being able to fully and instantly manage surgical instruments was possible in 2018, when the new management accepted the request of the head of the CSSD, Gerthy Ríos, Nurse, who observed the time lost in locating medical equipment and supplies. Between 2011 and 2017 alone, 642,577 medical consultations were performed at the institution, treating 86,364 new patients and performing 36,451 surgeries, so a monitoring, traceability, and management tool would ensure safe, infection-free medical care.
One of the main problems was being able to communicate to management the importance of traceability and monitoring of surgical instruments for patient safety, as well as the increasing costs that were not being accounted for. Thus, unnecessary losses, technical malfunctions, and a large number of reprocesses were largely due to the lack of registration of the available stock of surgical instruments and medical devices. These costs were absorbing the entire budget for the CSSD, which was only solving day-to-day problems but could not find the time to streamline its work through a process standard that would allow it to optimize the quality of its service.
The CSSD needed to draw up a roadmap, a medium-term action plan, with precise indicators and targets for productivity, costs, and human resource management, in addition to the number of sterilization process failures.
The first step of this action plan consisted of choosing a traceability and management software that would not only allow the counting of instruments, a very widespread functionality among most systems of this nature, but would also be scalable to other critical sectors, such as the endoscopy room, ORs and various clinical care sectors. This would optimize the use, rotation, and management of surgical instruments and medical devices throughout the institution, through total traceability all the way to the patient. These required functions were highly specific and critical, so the choice of the supplier posed a challenge: the system would be present in all day-to-day tasks, so the support service and induction of the CSSD staff had to be aligned with the recurring needs of an oncology hospital of this size, so the supplier would also be a strategic partner of CSSD.
After more than 2 years of experience with Interlab system, FALP is today a reference in Chile in terms of total traceability, which has reached all areas with great institutional adherence. The benefits were seen at different levels. Firstly, instrument loss was reduced and the instrument rotation was optimized thanks to digital records and reuse-to-reuse instrument traceability. In addition, staff performance was improved and the work overload of each work shift was reduced. Finally, the action plan justified, in part, the expansion of the new CSSD, with state-of-the-art equipment.