DNV GL Healthcare, the nation’s fastest-growing healthcare accreditation organization, has introduced a certification program for healthcare facility sterile processing departments.

DNV GL’s Sterile Processing Program Certification provides validation that hospitals and other healthcare facilities meet or exceed standards of care. The Sterile Processing Program Certification is designed to recognize excellence in an organization’s sterile processing department within the scope of infection prevention and control, surgical services, endoscopic services and related departments. DNV GL is the first in the United States to offer a sterile processing program certification for an institution.

One of the most important parts of DNV GL’s certification process is the requirement that the certified provider’s sterile processing department engage in continuous process improvement. As part of the certification, quality improvement initiatives, performance measures and/or clinical indicators are presented and discussed by staff at least quarterly. Instruments and equipment must also be tested at least quarterly to validate all sterilization processes.

Healthcare staff should do everything within their means to avoid patient infections. A recent study released in the journal Health Services Research concluded that surgical site infections are among the most challenging patient safety issues. Each incident costs on average $30,000 to resolve. As part of DNV GL’s certification process, providers are required to track surgical site infections 90 days following surgery, not just during the hospitalization period.

“A sterile processing certification is particularly crucial at a time when the complexity of medical instrumentation presents a challenge to maintaining sterility of the instruments used,” said Patrick Horine, President of DNV GL Healthcare. “DNV GL’s sterile processing program certification provides a path to enhancing such efforts.”

As the nation’s second-largest healthcare accreditation organization, Gary Davis, DNV GL Business Assurance North American Regional Manager, cites its “kinder and gentler” approach and its annual partnership strategy as some of the keys to successfully accrediting hospitals and boosting quality improvement at a rate of 20% growth year over year. The majority of hospitals choose accreditation in order to be certified by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to receive federal funds and reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Hundreds of hospitals across the United States have switched to DNV GL Healthcare over the past decade. The organization accredits more than 500 hospitals in 49 states.