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How to Utilize Instructions for Use in Infection Control

Posted by Andrea Baysinger on

Instructions for Use (IFUs) should be included with any and every medical device that you use in your practice. Learning how to properly use and follow IFUs will aid in proper infection control. As we are rolling into 2020, improvement in infection control in dentistry is at the forefront of my mind. So in this episode of Talking with the Toothcop we’re going to cover how to properly clean and disinfect medical devices (and how to reference the IFUs). Check it out!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:20] Welcome to 2020!
  • [4:55] Infection control and room for improvement
  • [6:30] Policy to practice book from OSAP takeaways
  • [7:45] Properly use IFU’s (Instruction for Use)
  • [13:30] You need written policies and procedures for infection control
  • [17:45] Enzyme solution and critical water
  • [22:55] Proper care of hinged instruments
  • [24:45] Spot-testing in dental offices
  • [26:30] Infection control testing coming in 2020!
  • [31:00] Move in one direction and never backward

Why Instructions for Use are SO important

Instructions for Use teach you how to properly use any and all medical devices that you use in your practices. Everything is regulated by the FDA—each product HAS to provide an IFU to remain compliant. They’ll tell you how to use it, care for it, clean and sterilize it, and how to store it. They are comprehensive guidelines for the proper care of your devices to increase longevity and protect your patients.

The process of cleaning your medical devices

I want to just walk through the general steps (and everything you need to consider) as you clean and sterilize your medical devices:

  1. Transporting the instrument(s): When you are transporting devices from the operatory to the sterilization room you must consult the IFU. For example, If it’s a sharps device, you must transport it in a closed container that cannot be permeated and label it as a biohazard.
  2. Rinsing the instrument(s): Does your devices IFU specify that it needs to be rinsed in a certain type of water? Many now require that they are rinsed in critical water.
  3. The Ultrasonic bath: Are you sterilizing hand instruments? Drills? Cavitron tips? For each item, you have to consult their specific IFU to properly clean and sterilize them.
  4. Enzyme solution: What type of enzyme solution to you need? Protease, amylase, or lipase? All three? How many squirts or tablets per amount of water being used? Guess what—your IFU will tell you everything you need to know. You also need to de-gas your ultrasonic by running it for 10 minutes before putting your instruments in.
  5. Second Rinse: You NEED to use critical water again! Most people are using tap water, and it’s probably not doing the job.

Instruments are expensive. You want to properly care for them and the best way to do that is by following their instructions for use. Andrea and I talk about considerations for hinged instruments, so keep listening!

Written policies and procedures

Most offices don’t have written policies and procedures in place for infection control. Or, they’re so generic that they’re useless as a guideline. But you need one for your practice. I’ve found that the best infection control guidelines that you can find online come from dental schools. But you can’t just grab their manual and call it good.

You need to take their baseline and edit it. Structure it for the proper verbiage for your practice. Make sure it addresses policies for stages of the instrument process, sterilization, transport, storage, to reuse or not reuse, surgical milk—the list goes on.

This is its own training manual. You can’t tuck into an OSHA manual. You need to have systems in place to properly update it and make sure all staff are reviewing it consistently. Keep listening as Andrea and I chat about the specifics.

Infection Control in 2020: Where are we headed?

Good enough isn’t good enough. I’ve spent hours researching infection control and am investing in some tests that I will use this year. I’ll be able to see in-the-moment if a dentist’s office is properly cleaning and sterilizing their instruments.

My goal is to track my testing and make the data consistent, measurable, and reliable. We don’t want to see what we think are water spots or rust on instruments and find out that they are biological. We need to set a higher standard for ourselves and our patients. That begins with proper infection control.

The CDC doesn’t spend time studying dentistry, so we need to make sure that our standards go above and beyond what is in place. Listen to the whole episode as Andrea and I chat about our plan for 2020.


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