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SP Audit Check List
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Sterile Processing Best Practices Audit Check List




The Sterile Processing Department (SPD) plays a major role in patient safety and its importance cannot be overestimated.  This role takes knowledgeable, responsible people and a workplace that facilitates effective and efficient processing to properly perform these tasks. Thus, it is essential that Perioperative Nurses, Infection Preventionists (IP) and Risk Management understand and support the roles and responsibilities of SPD for the sake of safe patient care. 

Clinical practices and infection control guidelines continue to be developed as we gain understanding of the risk factors and strategies for prevention of infections. Technology is changing the way procedures are performed as well as how instruments, equipment, and supplies are reprocessed.  Published professional recommendations for cleaning, disinfecting, sterilizing, sterile storage, environmental cleaning, and facility design, and personnel considerations should be strictly followed with adherence to policies and procedures closely monitored. 

The efficacy of any sterilization process depends on four phases:

  • a consistent system for lowering and limiting bioburden before sterilization,
  • properly preparing items for sterilization,
  • selecting the appropriate sterilization parameters, and
  • establishing and implementing controls to maintain the sterility of sterilized items until they are used.

These steps are critically interdependent, and each must be accomplished effectively and efficiently to produce and maintain a sterile product.

The delivery of sterile healthcare products for use in patient care depends not only on the efficacy of the sterilization process itself but also on the following factors:

  • a) efficient facility design,
  • b) proper training of personnel,
  • c) good infection prevention and control practices designed to prevent health-care-associated infections,
  • d) effective quality controls and process improvement systems that encompass all aspects of device reprocessing from point of use through sterilization to reuse, and
  • e) appropriate documentation and reporting practices that enable traceability of each facility-sterilized medical device to the patient on whom it was used.


Critical aspects of infection prevention include proper reprocessing procedures and sterility maintenance.  Facilities should perform routine audits for all reprocessing and sterilization areas.  These audits should be conducted by the SPD manager and Infection Prevention and Control professionals.

The Sterile Processing Best Practices Audit Check List contains important issues to monitor based on recommendations from The American National Standards Institute, (ANSI), and The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), the Association of periOperative Nurses (AORN) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  

For a copy of the check list, click on the link below.  You can then open the document or save it on your computer.

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