Updated: Mar 24, 2022
by Warren Nist
On 3/10/22, SGNA announced that they, along with the associations AASLD, ACG, AGA, ASCRS, ASGE, SAGES, voted no on the recent updates to the ANSI/AAMI ST91: 2021 guidelines. As a contributing workgroup member to several AAMI guidelines, I understand a number of their concerns. The announcement by SGNA should resonate with professionals in healthcare fields that, in particular, perform the responsibilities of reprocessing reusable medical devices. It should drive the awareness that not all best practice guidelines agree on what should or shouldn't be done.
One of the problems in aligning best practices is that, as stated in the GI Societies Joint Statement on the ST91:2021 revision, " the revision process included representatives from for-profit companies and other entities advocating for standards language that would support use of their products or services.
Another part of the dissension in the development process is that statements can also be based on opinions without significant data to support them. The views are often based on an end user's assessment of real-world issues and how to solve them.
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have for-profit or end-user views heard. I will acknowledge that for-profit companies have experts who offer information that otherwise may not be available to healthcare associations and participants during the development and revision process discussions. With end-users in mind, interpretation of failure often starts with a theory later developed into a proven standard. Better management practices find ways to come together and drive win-win solutions, and in healthcare, solutions that protect their patient populations.
The real solution to establishing best practice guidelines that meet the needs of our patients and set goals that are achievable by end-users is to get more people involved. Real-world end-users need to be involved at every level of every association. Better cross-cultural communication needs to occur between associations. Responsibilities for developing guidelines for each specialty, need to happen in a more singular process. Let each specialty, with its professionals and experts, develop best practices. Healthcare is built as a hierarchy of individuals, but egos need to be left at the door when establishing guidelines for practice. And maybe, having for-profit entities abstain from voting.
Get involved if SGNA and their partnered associations' statements resonate with you. More professionals need to be involved, and yes, that means technicians (end-users). Make yourself known and address issues that affect you and your profession. Let's reduce the redundancy and align our goals for taking care of our patients.
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.