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Listen to our Second episode of “Kappler x SurfCT Talks” aS we take a quick glance at Sterilization today and ask the question how the future will look.

Transcription below:

Paul

I’m reaching out to you guys because I want to ask some questions about sterilization, what’s happening right now in the world and what’s going to happen. I really want to understand that world better. So i figured I’d come to the experts and chat a little bit about that.

I’ll share with you a little bit about what we do… What we do with technology is that we want to keep your office clean and protected. One of the ways to do that is to let your patients know that you are clean and also protected.

Here you can see a treatment center that we put together? You can imagine by the lights which one is clean right?


Julia

I would say the white one.


Holger

I would say the red one!


Paul

You would say the red one?! Oh God.

[ laughs ]


Julia

If you’re color blind, maybe!


Holger

Okay, alright alright.


Paul

That’s a risky situation! So yes, white is the clean and red is the not clean. And from that perspective we are able to educate our patients on what is clean and protected. 

As a technology person, I don’t understand sterilization. I understand how to use technology to express it, but I don’t actually understand it. I was wondering if you could give me some insight into that, without it being, ya know, the sales pitch aspect of it. What is sterilization? Could you help me with that?

Julia

Yeah, of course. Sterilization has always been a  very big topic. We know that now during the time that we are in right now, everyone is talking about infection control and we give it more attention that we usually do. 

For us, it has always been the center of your clinic. So i want to look into where we are right now and where we are going.

It always has been the same process- there are four different steps to go through to sterilize instruments. So you can see in this picture we have three different colors. We have red, which is soiled. Yellow, which is clean. Green, which is steril.

Holger

Which is similar to what Paul was explaining earlier with the white and the red.

Paul

Well Julia, this is interesting, you have a yellow in there. So red is dirty, but the yellow is clean but not sterile. What’s the difference between clean and sterile?

Julia

Clean means that they did come out of the washer. They have been cleaned but have not been sterilized yet. You can see in the last picture we have the washer on the right. Until the instruments come out of the sterilizer, they are not sterile. So that’s why you have to separate those two areas. 

Talking about separation, in the past when we looked at offices a lot of times we put a lot of attention into our waiting area, our operatory, but we did not really give sterilization the space that it needed so a lot of times when you walk into an office, you can see the sterilization center. Which is a linear 12 foot, 14 foot, 15 foot structure. 

Coming from Europe, that’s a no-go because our guidelines in Germany are ahead of the US, for example. We already have guidelines that say we have to separate those two areas that we are looking at right now.

With sterilization centers, the mindset is that one size does fit all. We don’t think that every office has to have the exact same needs. 

If you look at the office workflow, you have different procedures, you have different amounts of instruments, you have different amounts of patients you see a day. So how can a linear sterilization center that is the exact same as the doctor next store provide you with what you need? 

We don’t think one size fits all and, looking at the future, as we will have more guidelines and we pay more attention to the sterilization area, that will change. We’ll have to pay more attention to sterilization. 

Paul

Well, i knew i was connecting to the right team here with Kappler! 

It’s very interesting, because what i’m taking away from what you’re saying is that you have the EU experience and in Europe the sterilization experience has had much more regulation. Your sterile center was developed to meet that high level of regulation so you’re already ahead of the game on that. 

The other element I’m getting, is that one size does not fit all. And that has been typical in the States- that one size does fit all. So, while I can use the colors to understand – red, yellow, green, and in our case, we use white- what i’m learning is that you all are operating on a higher frequency and understanding because of the EU regulation and i’m also learning that one size does not fit all.

Holger

Let me add one thing here Paul please. CDC guidelines do have a lot of elements in there already. 

What we’ve experienced the last few years is that there are not too many people out there who do it the way the CDC is recommending it for years. I think the last update on the CDC was 2016. I think we will have quite soon new updates and regulations coming out. But having seen what’s in the CDC guidelines for years and seeing what is being taken care of in the dental offices, these are two different worlds. Just taking care of the existing guidelines would help a lot moving forward. 

This is a very important thing to understand that there are guidelines in the US with the CDC that have been in place for a long time, and there will be more. But looking at existing guidelines, we need to ramp up to do that because it is important stuff and a lot of this is already happening in other countries. For example, Germany. There is a lot there that is here as well.

Paul
Well it’s interesting you say that, and one thing you can help clarify for me is that i’ve seen people doing sterilizations with carpet in their practice. What’s the current stance on carpet?

Holger

Our stance on carpet is that even the CDC guidelines right now say the carpet cannot- it is scientifically proven- clean like a hard surface floor. That’s why carpet should not be anywhere in your office every. As of now, there is no one really checking to see if offices really follow these guidelines (in the US). In other countries they have inspectors coming into your office and they look specifically at these guidelines. It’s just a guideline, but it’s also more than just a guideline. If they don’t follow the guidelines, the inspector can close the office. This happens frequently in Europe if the office does not meet the recommendations. 

Paul

I think it’s definitely coming down the road and even before the inspectors ints coming down the road from a patient perspective. 

Patients are going to want to know that you are clean and that you are protected. And while the lights are important, they’re only showing the patient that you’re both clean and protected. You actually have to be clean and protected. The ultimate decision maker will not just be the inspectors but the patients. People will come out of this and will be looking to be clean and protected.

Holger

There is one last thing I just want to say…There are so many regulations and more will come, but what we really feel optimistic about offices we have built and designed in the last two years are really far ahead of most of offices with no carpet and having closed operatories, having sterilization set up in a way that it should be. 

It is interesting to talking about this with you and Julia, and people will realize more and more how important the heart of the office, the sterilization center, will be in the future.

Paul

It’s super interesting you say that. All of the offices you all have built and designed are already at this level. I wasn’t thinking that, but subconsciously, I wanted to talk to the experts on dental practice design and sterilization and something told me to call you guys! It makes sense, because when I got in your offices, i don’t see carpets. I see steril. I see clean and protected.

Well thank you so much!

Julia

We’ll see you next time.

Holger

Stay safe. Talk to you soon. Bye!



Stay tuned and don’t miss our next Video about dental office design.

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