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Medical and Dental Office CSSD Errors

Updated: Mar 10, 2022


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During the last 15 years, I have been involved in inspecting and training individuals who reprocess instrumentation in medical and dental practices and specialty care centers. ECRI recently listed medical and dental sterilization practices as the #3 hazard for 2020 ( https://www.ecri.org/landing-2020-top-ten-health-technology-hazards). The following list is some of the errors that I have found during the last decade and a half.


Decontamination Area

  • cross-contamination during the process flow

  • incorrect dilution of chemicals

  • lack of proper use of chemicals

  • high-level disinfection chemical misuse

  • improper airflow

  • improper PPE use

  • improper equipment for cleaning

  • lack of critical water use

  • improper cleaning of ophthalmic instrumentation

  • improper transportation of soiled items

  • lack of keeping soiled instruments moist prior to cleaning

Preparation and Packaging Area

  • improper packaging

  • improper labeling

  • improper inspection of instrumentation

  • expired packaging and supplies

Sterilization Area

  • lack of verification of sterilization cycles

  • improper loading of sterilizers

  • improper cleaning of sterilizers

  • improper shelf life of sterilized items

  • improper storage of sterilized items

Departmental Administrative Area

  • outdated policies

  • lack of instructions for use (IFU)

  • lack of a quality management system

  • lack of a continuing education plan

  • lack of training documentation

  • lack of an annual risk assessment

  • improper attire policies

  • lack of an orientation plan


I am sure I have left out a few findings. To help create a risk assessment for your area, visit OSAP (https://www.osap.org/), AAMI (www.aami.org), or the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/index.html). It is the management teams' responsibility and the owners of small businesses to keep their patients safe.



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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