AAMI News, October 2014

Updated Guide Provides Answers to Water Quality Questions

Water is a critical component in the various stages of medical device reprocessing. How can those in charge of reprocessing devices ensure they are using water of the proper quality?
Water Quality
A revised technical information report (TIR) from AAMI can help. TIR34:2014, Water for the reprocessing of medical devices, addresses water treatment equipment, water distribution and storage, quality control procedures for monitoring quality, strategies for bacterial control, and environmental and personnel considerations.

Intended for personnel who reprocess medical devices and those who maintain the water treatment system, the document revises the 2007 version.

"The biggest change in this TIR is that we now have two categories of water quality: critical and utility," said Emily Mitzel, laboratory manager at Nelson Laboratories and co-chair of AAMI's Water Quality for Medical Device Reprocessing Working Group, which developed the TIR. "The definitions of these and how they are utilized are explained very well in the document."

The document defines utility water as coming from the tap and usually in need of no further treatment. It is primarily used for flushing, washing, and rinsing. Critical water is treated extensively to ensure that microorganisms and inorganic and organic material are removed. It typically is used for either the final rinse or steam generation.

While the main text covers information for those involved in reprocessing, annexes provide technical information for water maintenance personnel. "An informative annex addresses poor water quality and the impact on medical device reprocessing with pictorial examples, along with recommendations for investigation and correction," added Jackie Daley, corporate director at LifeBridge Health in Baltimore, MD, and co-chair of the working group. "An extensive reference list is provided for further reading. Therefore, if water quality is important to you, then this TIR is a must-have reference."

The revised TIR is available from AAMI in print or PDF for $150 list/$90 AAMI member. It also is included in the updated Sterilization Part 1: Sterilization in Health Care Facilities.