headerProperties images

Learning from our Customers

Belimed, Inc. is a global company who supports the healthcare industry and provides products, along with solutions, to many different countries. Understanding the differences in our customers’ departments, their challenges and their procedures is essential to our success. Many of these variations directly affect how we do business, the design of our products, and most importantly our approach to clinical education.


Recently, our Clinical Education Manager from the United States had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland and visit a customer facility to learn from their team, observe daily operations in reprocessing and surgery, as well as spending time with the department leader. Empowered by her visit, she felt it was important to share some of the key insights from her visit. In this blog, our Education Manager will highlight components that stood out to her, some focus areas of the differences between reprocessing practices, and opportunities for us to learn from other customers across the globe.


The sterile processing department (SPD) has many names both in America and across the globe. Known in some countries as the Medical Device Reprocessing Department, it’s interesting to investigate the differences and the similarities across this highly technical field. While the key principles are the same, there can be some variations in the details depending on the geographic region. Regardless of the name, however, the world of SPD does share the same common goal, to reprocess approved, reusable medical devices for use on patients who are undergoing procedures, delivering the safest outcome possible. Here are the interesting topics that were identified by our US Clinical Education Manager during her recent interactions with healthcare professionals in Switzerland.

Educational growth and career development starts at an early age and is heavily supported and well structured.


  • Students in high school are given educational opportunities to start their career knowledge and preparation early on.
  • Students, aged 15-16, are allowed to join programs, which include visits and training courses with companies who prepare them with career development guidance preparing them for their goals of entering the workforce.
  • Belimed academy was hosting 25 students, whose goal was to become an endoscopy manager, learning about healthcare and reprocessing.
  • Apprenticeship programs are structured and implemented during 3 years of high school and curriculums and college education are provided that are specific to their chosen field.
  • Students are learning technical skills at an early age and developing their career skills much earlier than in America.


Differences in cleaning practices and decontamination.


  • It was observed that minimal manual cleaning steps are taken in some areas of decontamination. When received from the operating room, processing started at point of use, and then used instruments are separated out, opened, and organized in mesh baskets to be sent through the mechanical washer.
  • Only a small percentage of instruments are processed through an ultrasonic machine.
  • Decontamination has a dedicated supervisor who oversees all production, activity, and staffing.
  • Instruments were sent through mechanical washers and only one decontamination sink was needed for limited manual cleaning. The steps were efficient and minimal time is spent at the sink completing the limited manual pre-clean process.
  • Bioburden issues are treated as patient safety events and heavily investigated. These issues rarely occur, and stops are in place to prevent these occurrences from happening often. They are documented, recorded, and investigated to ensure they are avoided as much as possible.


Staff members of the reprocessing unit are learning from apprenticeship students and vice versa.


  • Students who are taking part in the apprenticeship reprocessing program have a variety of assignments they complete for their studies. Each month they present these topics to the healthcare workers and teach them applications being taught in their curriculum. The presentations are developed into posters and visual aides and hung up across the department for all to benefit from.


Reprocessing staff are rounding in the procedure rooms and operating rooms along with chief surgeon.


  • Supervisors and technicians make their daily rounds in the procedure areas with the leadership team to review daily activities and learn from each other on the challenges and successes of that procedure that day.
  • The chief of surgery, who takes part in these huddles, has a relationship with the reprocessing team and shares critical information about devices, cases, and patient care as it relates to reprocessing.


Belimed mechanical washers are installed in the operating room core for a unique purpose.


  • Surgical services healthcare professionals’ shoes are cleaned daily in a dedicated and specific cycle using a washer disinfector located in the core area. Shoes are cleaned and never leave the facility nor worn outside. The shoes also are thermally disinfected after use.
  • This helps keep the patients safe, the floors clean and reduces the risk of any cross contamination in the locker rooms.


Dress Code practices are strict and standardized for the safety of the staff and patients.


  • Every healthcare worker in the operating rooms, procedure areas and sterile processing are provided with facility scrubs with dedicated colors for their work area.
  • Socks, shoes, scrubs are provided to each worker and normal surgical scrub procedures are in place.


Assembly and Inspection stations are spread out allowing each team member to see what is happening in the department and communicate easily with each other.


  • Stations are equipped with computers, tracking system software and details about each surgical tray. Images are available to help guide the inspection and production of the sets.
  • The count sheets are detailed and updated frequently to ensure proper assembly takes place.
  • Tray liners are not used in any sets, and mesh baskets like the US are in place.


In summary, there are many things we can learn from each other in sterile processing and healthcare applications. It’s important to understand the differences in processes, organizational structure, goals and even guidelines. Great value can come to any organization who invests in thinking outside the box, and adapting new concepts that might be new or even scary. We should gain insights from our counterparts, and colleagues both near and far. Belimed looks forward to learning more from our customers across the globe and hoping to adopt some of the innovative ideas taking place today.

Author: Randalyn Walters