The Process

Decontamination, sterilisation, using items

Process vs software

There is a “best practice” that can be practised in most hospitals and LTrace aims to provide this as part of the standard software.

At the same time, however, most installations have specific needs. These needs may include:

  • management reporting
  • finance reporting and interfaces
  • equipment interfaces
  • patient management system interfaces
  • work flow requirements

LTrace can be tailored to suit your particular needs. In fact, most quotes will contain an amount to ensure that the software is customised to save your staff time, money, effort and stress. Our goal is to provide a simple and easy solution for all users at a cost effective price.


LTrace provides the following key functions when decontaminating items:

  • Decontaminated only items: Tracking them to the decontamination batch and optionally printing labels for them.
  • Sterilised items: Tracking them to the decontamination batch from before they were sterilised and after they were used.

Decontaminated only items

As a decontaminated load is loaded or accepted, the user can specify how many decontaminated only items were present.

LTrace will optionally print labels for each of these items. This is useful for where the items will be bagged. Once labeled, the location of the item can be tracked and assigned to a patient once it is used.

Invoicing is also simplified by knowing how many items are being sterilised for a customer as well as knowing who is using the item.

Sterilised items

Once an item has been used by a patient it is decontaminated. By tracking which load an item is decontaminated in it is possible to track cross contamination.

As an item is being sterilised it is possible (if it is a uniquely identified item) to automatically track it back to the previous decontamination batch. From this, if there was any issue with dirty items then the sterilised items could be recalled.

When the item is returned to CSSD then:

  • the item’s unique identified (eg barcode) can be scanned to identify the item, or
  • the item’s sterilisation label can be used to scan the item, or
  • the user can select from a list of recently used items

These items can either be marked as “Returned to CSSD” or added to a decontamination batch.


LTrace helps staff ensure that:

  • the correct instrument is being sterilised
  • that all instruments are present on a tray or bowl
  • it is correctly laid out
  • any additional instructions are followed

The item is tracked to a specific sterilisation batch. The results of the sterilisation batch can be recorded.

If, in the future, it is discovered that there was a problem with a sterilised item it is possible to determine:

  • who prepared the item for sterilisation
  • what other items were sterilised in the same load/batch
  • who accepted the load/batch after sterilisation

Items can then be recalled if necessary.

Process – packing

When the staff start to pack an item they will find it in the LTrace software. This can be achieved by:

  • scanning a barcode on the tray/bowl/instrument, or
  • searching for its name in the database, or
  • navigating through a group/subgroup structure

Once the correct item is found, LTrace will display:

  • a photo of the item (if available)
  • instructions on what to do (if required)
  • an inventory of all instruments and quantities
  • access to photos of each instrument (if available)

Once the item has been packed the operator will create a label and optionally a count sheet. The label is stuck to the outside of the parcel. If any items are missing extra stickers are printed detailing what is missing.

Process – sterilising

The aim is to link every item with the load/batch that it is sterilised in. This can be done by:

  • automatically assigning it to the next load when printing the label. No additional staff intervention is required.
  • scanning a bar code on the trolley and then scanning the items on the trolley.
  • selecting the items in software and adding them to a trolley.

Once a trolley has been sterilised it will be inspected and either passed or failed in LTrace. This process takes less than a minute.

Using Items

LTrace is able to track the location of any item as it moves throughout the facility. This allows you to know exactly where something is at any particular time.

LTrace also records the patient when an item is used. This then allows full traceability.

Process – item tracking

The most common method that LTrace uses for the tracking of items throughout a facility is by using barcode scanners.

A barcode is located in a convenient location. Staff simply scan this barcode once and then scan all the items as they are received.

LTrace can then be used to quickly locate an item.

The label on the item can also be used to display information such as:

  • the department that uses or requires the item: This ensures it will reach its destination quickly.
  • the location within the department in which it is to be stored (eg the cupboard number). This ensures that the item will not be misplaced once it has arrived at its destination.

Process – item usage

At the start of a surgery a blank sheet of paper is used to store the labels. A patient label is affixed to the top.

As items are used the staff simply remove the attached label and stick it onto the patient sheet. This means that no PC is required during surgery.

In an emergency when items are being quickly opened the label will remain with the packaging until after surgery. They can then be added to the patient sheet.

After surgery, the patient code is entered into LTrace and the labels on the patient sheet are scanned in. This usually takes less than a minute.

Once the item has been scanned to the patient the audit trail is nearly complete. The item can be tracked from the patient back to the batch, back to previous patients or forwards to the next patient.