therefore need to consider either purchas- ing a different sterilizer, or buying new compatible instruments and devices.

• Device repair/replacement costs related to ma- terial compatibility: A sterilization process can impact the material components of your reusable devices if it introduces new chemicals or processes. It is important to understand the potential costs of repair or replacement of your devices, and the impact on useful life of the device.

• Special equipment costs for temperature con- trol, area monitoring or drying: It’s important to check with the sterilizer manufacturer to confirm any additional cost requirements. For example, all devices have to be dry to be processed in H2

systems are more sensitive to moisture and temperature. This may mean that ad- ditional equipment for drying the devices and maintaining the optimal temperature will be recommended by the manufac- turer.


• Connecting to tracking systems: If you are currently using an instrument tracking system, you will need to determine if the sterilizer you are assessing is equipped to talk to your tracking system. If not, you must determine what you will need to purchase to get the new equipment connected.

Recurring costs to add in

It is crucial to understand what you are go- ing to be paying over the life of a piece of equipment. Here are some recurring costs to evaluate for your prospective system: • Consumables costs: sterilant, biological indicators, chemical indicators and other accessories such as a sterilant disposal box. BE AWARE: the cost of the consumables can vary by sterilizer manufacturer. Some companies will heavily discount the capital equipment, but the consumables prices will be much higher than those of others.

• Cycle costs: to get an accurate value, look at the big picture of what it is going to cost you to run your sterilizer. The overview includes: ° Productivity: Manufacturers’ cycle claims can help determine the number of cycles you can run per day and your yearly cost for consumables. It can help you calculate turnover time on surgical case sets and determine the number of steril- izers you need to meet your throughput requirements.

° Aborted cycles: They happen, and they can cost you time in terms of reprocessing delays, and money for wasted supplies. Some sterilizers can experience a higher

sterilizers, but some

Sponsored by

number of aborted cycles, so it’s impor- tant to investigate the sterilizer design and determine if it could impact your aborted cycle costs.

• Service and parts costs: Connect with your clinical engineering team to understand their goals for maintaining the system. If they want to take care of the unit, what are the maintenance and training options? If you are considering a service contract with the sterilizer manufacturer, what are the annual service contract costs, including planned replacement parts? What is and is not covered under your service contract? This will determine potential out-of-pocket costs. Is the company’s service team large enough, and local enough, to provide a quick response time so you can optimize your equipment uptime? This could help prevent loss of productivity and delayed/ cancelled surgical cases.

• Operator Maintenance: Many manufactur- ers recommend specific tasks for operator maintenance, such as running a special diagnostic cycle weekly or replacing a vaporizer plate. If you are switching to a new sterilizer, be sure to understand these recommendations and calculate in any related costs.

Value-added services that save on costs • Workload assessment and recommendation on workflow: This service, offered as part of the purchase by some manufacturers, is helpful because it will aid in selecting the appropriate type and number of sterilizers to cover present needs and expected future growth.

• Operator training: If this is offered as an added benefit of purchase, it will save on the cost of training for operators.

• Engineering training: This may be offered as an economical option to allow in-house staff to maintain your equipment while keeping the system in compliance with warranties and best practices.

• Trade-in services: If a manufacturer negoti- ates a trade-in as part of the purchase, this could save on purchase cost and on end-of-life costs to dispose of or move an old system.

Ready for your next TCO analysis?

Although this module is not exhaustive in scope, it does provide some typical examples of the types of potential costs and factors in- volved in a sterile processing long-term asset acquisition. It can help set the framework for a thorough TCO evaluation before you make a major equipment purchase.


Purchasing a healthcare capital asset can seem like a huge undertaking, but there is support available. And, by conducting a thorough TCO analysis, you will avoid un- necessary costs and select the optimal system for your needs and budget. Membership organizations like MD Buyline (mdbuyline. com) and ECRI Institute ( may be able to provide useful comparative informa- tion. In addition, some equipment manu- facturers are willing to provide a wealth of added support. Check to see if your prospec- tive system’s equipment manufacturer will help you by providing TCO information, assisting with low or no-cost in-servicing and education, providing measurements and information to help with workflow design, shipping and installation, reviewing your device inventory, and providing tools such as competency checklists and work instructions to make the transition smooth and painless. HPN

*A capital asset is one that is not easily sold for cash, and that typi- cally plays a role in the organization’s productivity or ability to turn a profit. In addition, a capital asset is expected to provide benefits that extend beyond a calendar year.

**Semi-critical medical devices are those that come into contact with intact mucous membranes and do not ordinarily penetrate sterile tissue. Reusable semi-critical devices should receive at least high-level disinfection, which is defined as the destruction of all vegetative microorganisms, mycobacterium, small or nonlipid viruses, medium or lipid viruses, fungal spores, and some bacterial spores.

Melissa Gonsalves, BS, MEM, is the product manager of Low Temperature Sterilization Solu- tions at STERIS Corporation. She is responsible for the development and distribution of hydrogen peroxide gas sterilizers. Melissa holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Michigan Techno- logical University and a Master of Engineering and Management from Case Western Reserve University.

Sarah Lazzara, BS, MBA, director of IPT Marketing at STERIS Corporation, is responsible for the management of sales and marketing for the Company’s Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP) technologies. She received her BS. in Management Information Systems from Penn- sylvania State University and her MBA from Lake Erie College. Sarah is also a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

References 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. rilization.html#a1.

6. rilizingPractices.html.

7. ucts/Technology_Reviews/Automated%20Endoscope%20Repro- cessors.pdf.

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