Key Surgical has been in the business of sterile processing and O.R. supplies for over 30 years. One of the things that keeps us on our toes and excited to come to work every day is that we know that the products we sell and the education we provide are helping improve our customers’ processes with the end goal of positive surgical outcomes, explains Corporate Marketing Director Alana Suomela.

“When someone plans to have surgery the first thing that comes to mind is never, ‘I wonder if the instruments being used on me were properly cleaned and sterilized.’ Most people don’t even think about cleaning of surgical instruments – they just trust that the instruments or supplies being used in surgery are sterile,” Suomela adds. “Unfortunately, we know that is not always the case and to that end we put ourselves in the shoes of the patient. We think about our family members or loved ones being on the surgical table and that truly motivates and inspires us to do what we do. We talk about this often at Key Surgical and when we shift our thinking in this way, we’re no longer just a vendor selling a product. We don’t want our customers to cut corners when it comes to someone’s life on the line – so we don’t either.”

OR Today interviewed Suomela and Clinical Education Manager Lindsay Brown, CRCST, C.F.E.R., CCSVP, to find out more about Key Surgical.

Q: What product or service are you most excited about right now?

Brown: Education is a platform in which Key Surgical invests time and energy because we believe it inspires an important shift in engagement and dedication both with our customers as well as with our employees. When it comes to professionals in both the surgical and sterile processing industry, we have invested in the idea of knowledge-share in terms of industry standards, recommended practices, process improvements and much more. It’s widely recognized that positive patient outcomes are deeply influenced by a facility’s (hospital, surgical center, etc.) ability to understand the chain of infection and likewise the ways in which to break that chain. We focus on supporting the vision and dedication to reducing infection by providing educational opportunities that cover industry topics ranging from manual cleaning of surgical instruments to effective communication between sterile processing and the operating room.

We currently have an online education program that is free and available on our website. We strive to create relatable and engaging material and that includes our education program as well.

We’ve developed a series of online videos that are paired with interactive quizzes that challenge participants to think critically about daily tasks as well as over-arching process improvements. The material is both IAHCSMM and CBSPD certified, based on industry standards and guidelines, and technicians receive continuing education credits (CEUs) required for certification. In addition to the online education program, our Key Surgical sales team members also provide in-services and bring the educational material to facilities in person. The pairing of educational opportunities with high-quality products for sterile processing and the O.R. from Key Surgical has really helped facilities across the country meet their daily challenges head-on.

As Clinical Education Manager for Key Surgical, I’ve spent many years working alongside health care professionals who are emboldened by the idea that a patient’s life depends on the work done every day in sterile processing and the O.R. It’s incredibly inspiring and we are dedicated to infusing that energy into all we do here at Key Surgical. Our goal is to compel our customers to act; to make changes in their department for the better and shift their mindset in a way that doesn’t leave room for interpretation of what is the “right thing to do.” If patient safety guides every decision in the department and the personnel responsible for performing tasks such as manual cleaning, protecting instruments, implementing new processes, etc. are given the tools they need to succeed … change happens for the better.

Education strengthens professional aptitude, which is crucial for health care professionals, and we are thrilled to be supporting them as they perfect the skills necessary for positive patient outcomes.

Q: You mentioned being “inspired” by your customers. How does that drive your company’s evolution?

Brown: We are passionate about creating meaningful experiences for our customers that have a lasting impact and that will always be the basis of what we do at Key Surgical. With that said, the only thing constant is change and we will certainly evolve in terms of education (topics, design, availability) as well as the products we offer. We are already hard at work adding new products to our current line that will play an important role in our customers’ jobs, supported by a vibrant and approachable education program aimed toward success in the patient care setting. We view our customers as partners in our process as a business and we will continue to provide solutions that align with the ever-evolving needs of the industry.

Q: Tell me about your employees. How do you promote that “partnership” sentiment within your company culture?

Brown: Part of our company’s mission statement is to hire and retain good people who understand that nothing happens until a customer decides to do business with us. Everyone at Key Surgical understands the impact our products and process have on patient safety in terms of positive surgical outcomes and reducing patient risk. We require all our sales team members to be IAHCSMM vendor certified (CCSVP) and all new hires are cross-trained in various departments to gain a full understanding of how essential each department is to the process. Each Key Surgical team member brings a wealth of knowledge and experience; their everyday contribution is “key” to how we operate and deliver on promises to our customers. We focus on superior customer service and experience with each interaction – whether that be with a customer service team member, a sales team member, our Purchasing/AR department or visiting us in person at a national tradeshow event, we believe we are nothing without our customers and we promote that in our culture. An important group of employees who are woven into the fabric of who we are as a company come to us from Lifeworks, a Minnesota nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve our community and people with disabilities as we live and work together. Our Lifeworks employees perform tasks in many different areas of our company and we are thankful for their dedication to upholding the mission of Key Surgical and producing the highest quality products and solutions for the customers we serve.

Q: Your company is based in Minnesota – how can customers around the country (or globally) interact with you in person?

Suomela: We proudly support industry associations/organizations (such as IAHCSMM, AORN, ASCA, APIC, AAMI and AHRMM) all around the U.S. and internationally through either speaking at educational seminars or participating as an exhibiting vendor. Although our headquarters are in Minnesota, health care professionals around the country can interact with us in person at these events each year. We love exhibiting at these events because it gives the attendees a chance to check out our products in person, ask specific questions and receive a free bag of product samples they can take back to their facility to try out. Internationally, all our companies (Key Surgical, Interlock and Clinipak) have a combined presence at events such as the MEDICA TradeFair, World Sterilization Congress and Arab Health – which gives us the unique opportunity to meet with both customers and international distributors in person. Staying connected with our customers on all levels is vital to our mission and we will continue to seek opportunities to support them in their goals.

Visit keysurgical.com to participate in the online education program, learn about new products and find out when and how you can interact with them at an upcoming industry event!


For more information, visit www.keysurgical.com.