Enhancing Patient Safety: Earn CEUs on the Vital Role of IFUs in Instrument Processing

Rebecca Benga





If you are a regular reader of our blog posts and white papers, you know that quite often we focus on infection prevention and instrument processing. This focus reflects the increasing importance of the topic, especially in today’s dynamic healthcare environment.

Additionally, in the face of newly recognized pathogens and well-known microorganisms becoming resistant to treatment modalities, there is growing pressure to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

 A key infection control practice for reducing the likelihood of an infection is proper reprocessing of medical instruments. A vital part of ensuring your instrument processing achieves and maintains the highest standards is following manufacturer instructions for use (IFUs) for all your reprocessed instruments.

MA in the instrument processing workflow


Why are IFUs Important?

The detergent or disinfectant agent used to clean medical instruments is a key factor in instrument reprocessing, as well as safe patient care. However, there are a various types of detergents available today and certain detergents may not be effective with certain instruments. This is why it is important that personnel involved in the care and cleaning of medical instruments be knowledgeable about these agents and the proper instrument cleaning process.

Manufacturers of medical instruments are required to provide information needed by processing personnel to reach recommended or required sterilization parameters. These IFUs accompany each medical device and provide explicit cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing directions for the device. Advances in medical technology have led to more complex instrument design, which in turn has led to more complicated IFUs.

Healthcare personnel are required to follow these directions to help ensure sterile compliance and avoid harmful consequences. In fact, direct harm may occur to a patient if IFUs are not followed correctly.

For example, if an item should be soaked for 10 minutes prior to mechanical cleaning and an employee only soaks it for five minutes, underexposure may cause direct patient harm. If instruments are soaked for too long, overexposure may occur and cause damage to the instruments, which also may result in patient harm.


Learn more and earn CEU credits

In an effort to help take the mystery out of IFUs and ensure they are front and center in your instrument processing, our Midmark clinical education team has partnered with Pfiedler Education to offer training on the topic that provides continuing education units (CEUs).

The course, “Enhancing Patient Safety: The Vital Role of Manufacturer's Instructions for Use (IFUs) in Instrument Processing,” is an on-demand, digital module. The content of the course:

  • Outlines the steps of the instrument cleaning process.

  • Reviews key considerations related to selection and use of detergents and disinfectants for instrument cleaning.

  • Describes the characteristics of the various types of detergents and high-level disinfectants.

  • Presents troubleshooting steps for the cleaning process and mechanical equipment.

  • Highlights the applicable regulations and standards related to instrument care and cleaning.

After completing the course, healthcare professionals should be able to:

  1. Outline the ways in which properly following IFUs throughout the instrument processing journey may prevent/reduce infections or citations from accrediting or regulating bodies.

  2. Describe how proficiently reading, interpreting and applying IFUs in the clinic setting (thereby optimizing workflow design) can reduce pathogen transmission between staff and patients.

  3. Explain how to optimize workflow and integrate infection control principles into the design of instrument processing units, ultimately enhancing safety and efficiency.

Currently, the California Board of Registered Nursing (CBRN) and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution (CBSPD) and the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA) have approved the course for 2.0 contact hours.

Interested healthcare personnel can sign up on Pfiedler’s site to take the on-demand module.

To discuss additional education options for your team, contact your Midmark representative or email: medicalclinicaleducation@midmark.com.