We are hearing from the field that regulatory surveyors are heavily focused on sterile instrument safety, specifically on instrument identification methods and the proper use of identification tape when used. Observations with improper use of instrument identification tape has resulted in condition level findings within the Infection Control and Prevention Chapter. Improperly applied tape, tape that is peeling, splitting, cracking, or lifting creates a harbor for micro-organisms such as bacteria.
Organizations are encouraged to:
(1) Review their process for the use of identification tape and ensure it meets regulatory requirements
(2) Ensure the Sterile Processing team is including inspection of the tape as a component of their instrument inspection
(3) Conduct a risk assessment to determine if identification tape is the most suitable means for instrument identification at the facility.
Check out the following link to The Joint Commission Quick Safety Issue 64 released in February 2022 for guidance on sterile instrument reprocessing safety including the use of instrument identification tape: https://www.jointcommission.org/resources/news-and-multimedia/newsletters/newsletters/quick-safety/quick-safety-issue-64/
Please reach out to the C&A team with further questions or for assistance with your regulatory compliance needs.