In this video, Dr. John Molinari shares his insight on sterlization centers, and highlights: parts that are overlooked, a success story, and more.
Interviewer: Based on your experience are there particular areas in the sterilization center that are often overlooked?
Dr. John Molinari: When one looks at instrument reprocessing it’s certainly is possible for there to be areas that people don’t do correctly. One of the most common areas that individuals will overlook when designing and implementing a reprocessing system is how instruments are cleaned. A number of individuals still hand-scrub instruments to remove organic debris. This is not only very inefficient, it’s also dangerous and can lead to the increased risk of sharps injuries when cleaning the instruments.
Another area that is sometimes overlooked is people are still used to doing what they have been doing over period of years that they don’t consider new technologies and new innovations. The use of ultrasonic cleaners and cleaning units has not become a standard component of the overwhelming majority of practices. Yet now we have gone even past that into the area of instrument washer and washer disinfectants. These things can hold more instruments, they can hold cassettes, they reduce the handling of contaminated instruments, they make the whole process safer. People need to look at this sometimes to see what is out there that is going to help them and also make the whole process more efficient.
Interviewer: Could you share a sterilization success story?
Dr. John Molinari: There have been a number of success stories in dentistry with regard to infection control. One of the earliest ones that many people don’t remember goes back to the early days of the introduction of the hepatitis B vaccine. What many people don’t realize and I saw this first hand, was that dentistry was the first health profession to routinely accept the hepatitis B vaccine for protection against that occupational infection. Other health professions played catch up to that.
In addition we’ve seen success stories where more and more of the younger dentists and the hygienists and assistants that are coming out of school are moving into offices where infection control practices may have been outdated a bit. In many of those practices these young professionals are being allowed and encouraged to upgrade the infection control practices, instrument processing.
And lastly, when we look at the overall introduction of new technologies, we’re seeing that dentistry slowly but more rapidly is encompassing better techniques which allow better instrument processing and safer practices.
Interviewer: What regulatory bodies and authorities should a doctor be mindful of when making decisions about their sterilization center?
Dr. John Molinari: When dentist are looking at developing or implementing new instrument reprocessing areas and updating their infection control in general they have to be mindful of certain regulations and recommendations. OSHA for example has a general work duty clause that says, the employer is responsible for providing a safe work environment for employees. The center for disease control and prevention look at science-based and clinical-based evidence that looks to reduce occupational risks, while also documenting those risks in actual real life situations, cases, epidemics, etc. The ADA has used a lot of that science-based evidence to come up with their own recommendations. The food and drug administration and environmental protection agency or government agencies that also look at regulating and approving sterilizers, hand hygiene products, disinfectants, things that are used routinely in the practice that also promote good infection control.
Speaker: John A. Molinari, PhD