What are the benefits of using LTrace?
Limitations of a manual tracking system
Before I start I need to talk about the limitations of a manual tracking system. The sterilisation standard was fundamentally written to guarantee one thing: every item used in surgery is sterile. The label was only designed to inform you when it was sterilised and if there was a problem you could find out information about the sterilisation load.
This approach failed to answer some critical questions such as
- What other items were sterilised at the same time?
- Which patients used items from the same load?
- Which patients used the item previously or next?
And these are critical questions when it comes to infection control.
Workarounds within CSSD
There were additional actions taken by many sterilisation departments. One common one was to manually write down the items that were in a load. This was time consuming and only answered one of the questions: “what other items were sterilised at the same time?”
If there was a problem with a load you had no idea where the items were, or which patients used them. You would have to trawl through hundreds or thousands of patients notes to find them.
The next issue was in accurately identifying what an item was. This was typically done with a hand written description on the tape. This was prone to problems such as bad hand writing and incorrect names.
Benefits of "just a label"
Just by printing a label you get the following benefits:
- It is clear and legible
- It is the correct and agreed to name
- It can be specific
- Other information can be included such as location, warnings, and surgeon details
Just by using a printed label, a number of critical questions can be answered such as:
- What is this item?
- Where is it stored?
Speeding up the process
The next step is to make it as fast and easy as possible to find and print the correct label.
LTrace provides a number of ways to identify an item including scanning a barcode and a text search feature. It can be completed within seconds.
And once an item is found it is possible to do amazing things like show photos, have a count sheet, display operator instructions, and do life cycle checks. It is all there in one location.
LTrace will automatically answer questions such as
- “How do I process this item?”
- “Do I have the correct item?”
- “Can this item be reused?”
- “What do I need to be aware of?”
If an instrument is missing, this information can be recorded. Extra labels are printed to go on the outside, and the count sheet updated. Unlike many other systems, LTrace does not distinguish between trays and steripeel items. It’s the same process for both, keeping it simple!
Benefits of adding a bar code
You can have all of these benefits without tracking, so let’s add a barcode and see what happens.
It is quick and easy to scan items onto a trolley for sterilisation. You now know all the items in a load. You can pass or fail a load with the click of a button. Items can be instantly recalled later if necessary.
That’s a huge benefit, and it is no more work than the old manual way.
Items can then be scanned into a storeroom. That means you can answer the critical question: “where are they?”
There is no longer a need to search an entire hospital to find a tray. The time saving of this one feature is huge, and can save a life.
Next the item is scanned to a patient.
You now know which items were used on a patient, and when they were sterilised, and what other items were sterilised at the same time, and next. If the item hasn’t been sterilised, or has been recalled, then a warning is immediately displayed. You can avoid potentially fatal mistakes.
That’s awesome for infection control.
Even more benefits
The benefits don’t stop there.
Remember that theatre staff can now quickly locate any item.
“Fast tracking” is now just a click of the button. CSSD staff will then be alerted to ensure items are quickly processed.
Messaging between theatre and CSSD is also quick and easy. Theatre staff can have a message appear when the item is being washed, packed or sterilised. CSSD staff can also have messages appear for theatre staff.
Our aim in theatre is simple – be as unobtrusive as possible.
It is possible to scan items after the procedure. Surgery doesn’t have to stop just because the network is down.
After surgery, LTrace allows you to scan items into washers. Now you know which items were washed at the same time, and you can also do a recall on them!
But wait, there’s more
LTrace isn’t just an “off-the-shelf” product. Instead we work with you and your team to find out the simplest, easiest and most efficient way to do things. That may mean changes to how you do things, and it may mean changes to LTrace. In the end, LTrace will save you time, save you money, save you stress, and may even save a life.