outside of the surgical sterilization facility

Ohio State hospitals get new sterilization facility for surgical equipment


outside of the surgical sterilization facility

The sterilization facility, located at 2814 Kenny Road, was a $45.3 million investment for the university. It serves Ohio State East Hospital and the medical center’s main campus. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | Photo Editor

Scalpels, scissors and other surgical instruments usually resigned to poorly lit hospital basements for cleaning now have their own sterilization building at Ohio State.

Kim Jones, director of Central Sterile Supply processing at the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State, said the new facility, which received its first truckload of instruments Feb. 22 from the Ohio State East Hospital, is “unique” in that it’s separate from the hospital.

The facility, located at 2814 Kenny Road, was a $45.3 million investment for the university, according to a Feb. 22 medical center press release. It serves Ohio State East Hospital and the medical center’s main campus and is capable of processing everything from a single pair of scissors in a peel pack to complex instruments for orthopedic surgeries, Jones said. 

Central Sterile Supply has areas for disinfection, sterilization, preparation, packing and storage of supplies and instruments, according to the release. Administrative offices, locker rooms and conference rooms are also located at the site.  

Patrick Bradford, director of indirect strategic sourcing at the medical center, said the project began three years ago after it was determined the demand for surgeries would double after other hospital projects were finished — with it, an increased need for sterile instruments.

“Normally, 99 times out of 100, hospitals put their sterilization operations in the basement,” Bradford said. “Of course it’s super crowded, it’s not well lit. As the hospital grows and increases surgical procedures, it puts more demand on sterilization.”  

Jones said Central Sterile Supply facility is well lit and allows for efficient and thorough reprocessing of surgical instruments.

In the back of the facility, Jones said there are three docks for receiving the surgery instruments, receiving one-time use supplies and shipping sanitized and packaged instruments to different sites for surgeries.

Jones said the building is set up in a one-way workflow, where used tools enter the facility dirty at one end and exit clean from the other, sterilized and ready to be used. Central Sterile Supply is divided into three zones — one for decontamination, one for instrument-tray assembly and the last for sterile storage.

In the decontamination zone, Jones said staff is in full personal protective equipment and the instrumentation goes through a high-powered washer before entering the next zone. 

The assembly zone is often called “prep and pack,” Jones said. In this zone, instrument trays are inspected for functionality and cleanliness before they enter the sterilization machine.

After sterilization, tools enter the sterile storage zone where they cool down and are held until they are ready to ship out to operating rooms.

Bradford said there is extra capacity built into the facility to allow for future expansion — possibly for facilities beyond Ohio State.  

“We’re going to add more machines over the next three to four years as we open up more hospitals,” Bradford said. “We do have open capacity that we can use that capacity to support organizations outside of Ohio State.” 


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