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Capital Purchase Planning For Sterile Processing

Updated: Apr 25

Planning for capital purchases takes time, diligence, and good organization.

Evolved Sterile Processing - Thought of the Week

Capital Planning For Sterile Processing

Developing a multi-year plan is an excellent way to start. The cost of capital equipment in the sterile processing department can be tens of thousands of dollars. Phasing in equipment is often the only approach to keeping the sterile processing department humming along. It would be best if you were planning ahead for at least five years.

Equipment Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of equipment can vary significantly. Steam sterilizers' life expectancy can be 10-15 years, and washer/disinfectors as little as eight years. Utilization is the key. Sterile processing departments with better balance approaches to throughput may have more extended equipment longevity. Working with the Biomedical department, you can assess the age of your equipment and start planning for a replacement.

Coordination of Purchases

Tying purchases together can be beneficial. The operating room usually gets the lion's share of the capital funding in The Perioperative Services departments. While utilizing the instructions for use (IFU), coordinating SPD dollars with new instrumentation purchases can help you build a case for need. Return on investment (ROI) is a factor considered for large purchases. Build an ROI by pairing equipment and instruments together.


Budget seasons in healthcare are getting shorter and shorter. Managers are being given very little time to assess their budgetary needs. You need to be prepared. By developing a multi-year plan, you can work on obtaining quotes earlier in the year.

Getting Approved

The most challenging part of capital purchase planning in Sterile Processing is getting approval for your needs. Developing a return on investment model is the best approach. SPD's ROI plan is different from income-generating departments. Tying the dollars spent to income-generating processes is vital. Consider values such as:

  • reducing delays in patient care

  • increasing output of revenue-producing devices

  • reducing infection control

At Evolved Sterile Processing, our consultants have a greater focus on sterile processing. With our decades of experience, we will help you develop better processes and educational resources for your staff.

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