Currently, there are many steps in the process of cleaning and sterilizing critical surgical instruments which are largely manual. Then, surgical instruments must be sterilized and packaged to maintain sterility. Human intervention occurs in transporting and preparing instruments as well as in recording information for tracking the instruments. In solutions used today, individual process steps may be automated but true end-to-end automation of the complete process, from
identification of the soiled instrument through the cleaning and sterilization process and final packaging, does not exist. A completely automated sterilization process would reduce risks to patients by eliminating many opportunities for process escapes.
This project will develop and pilot a fully automated process for sterilizing reusable medical instruments in order to prevent potentially life-threatening diseases for Veterans. Expand the use of this pilot outside of the Operating Room to other processes.