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Monthly Archives: September 2016

What is the Order of Operations for Custom Tray Processing


Processing Custom Trays Correctly

Processing custom trays requires six primary steps:

  • Getting A Custom Tray Series Commissioned
  • Proper Sterilization
  • Packaging
  • Safe Storage Of Trays
  • Continual Monitoring of Trays
  • Final Disposal

The Commissioning

First, you should determine your needs as regard surgical trays. What kind of trays are necessary, and what kind of unique items would you like included in them? How many will you need, and will you have more than one series to maintain operations should the unthinkable happen? Once you’ve properly configured your needs, then it’s time to commission an order.


A tray that hasn’t been sterilized is a tray that you cannot use. This is an integral component of the custom tray. Custom trays are often sterilized through several different procedures. Which is used for your specific custom trays may depend on the organization from whom you commission their development. It makes sense to order custom trays from a group whose methods you find suitable to your practice. Most will be transparent in this area, so feel free to ask how their sterilization procedures work.

Ensuring Proper Packaging

Packing for custom trays is integral to their successful deployment. You’re ordering trays that won’t just travel from the place where they were put together and sterilized, they’ll have to remain sterile until it’s time to use them. This means they must be optimized for storage such that they can stand to be idle for long periods of time. When you choose a custom tray provider, you should be sure that they provide top-tier packaging. Such packaging must additionally match the idiosyncrasies of a given tray. A procedural pack for spinal work will be different than that used in orthodontia; but both custom trays need to be rugged and able to remain clean with storage.

Facilitating Storage

Find an open room where trays can be stored without being too near the walls or the ceiling. Walls are going to have varying microbial and insect life near them, the ceiling may leak. Even in secure environments, both areas are weak points to a room’s sterility. Consider tray idiosyncrasies as well. There are certain trays that cannot be stacked one atop the other, as they’ll end up compromising each other’s sterility. The last thing to consider is how accessible said packages are. You’re going to need to monitor them before they go to surgery.


Between microorganisms, insects, and other life too small for the eye to readily detect, there are a ubiquity of compromising factors which could inhibit your custom trays. Leaks, as mentioned previously, may come from the ceiling. If you can devise a covering to protect custom trays against this, it’s certainly recommendable. But even if you have the perfect storage environment, you’re going to encounter individual changes. Maybe some equipment was being moved and knocked through the storage door, contaminating the trays. Anything could happen, so be sure you monitor the trays you’ve purchased very closely.

Final Disposal

After trays have been used, they must be completely disposed of; and in a way that’s preferably not harmful to the environment. Hazardous materials must be handled accordingly; especially as many of them will involve organic contaminants.

A Final Consideration

Once you’ve figured out how many custom trays you will need, you’re going to want a second tier of them in storage in case you over-reach said need. Economic crisis can diminish patients, economic stimulus can multiply them, and disaster can exponentially increase them. Three tiers of trays is recommendable for the most trustworthy stability in operations.


Who Uses Sterile Procedure Packs?


Image is from www.cardinalhealth.com

Primarily An Operational Innovation

The custom tray has become a regular feature of the surgical theater, though it isn’t only used by surgeons. Dentists and orthodontists also use custom trays that have been pre-sterilized when the job calls for it. The primary key which brings everyone together is operation. Generally, a custom tray is used in an area where some procedure pertaining to modern health or medicine is being applied to a given patient. Sometimes that procedure involves surgery of the open-heart variety. Sometimes it’s as simple as a teeth-cleaning. Either scenario requires trays that have been properly disinfected beforehand. If they come custom, there are a number of things which recommend them to conventional trays, including:

  • Greater Accuracy in Sterilization
  • Increased Efficiency In Operation
  • Procedural Simplification

Custom trays don’t have to rely on an intern’s inexperience to remain properly sterilized. Whether or not you have sterilization equipment on-site (recommendable should the unexpected happen), a custom tray put together by internal personnel will likely be qualitatively inferior to one constructed by a company who specifically specializes in these trays’ development. Additionally, there’s the time element to consider. If you’re operating a dental practice, you’ll easily see forty or more patients a week. If each custom tray requires ten minutes’ preparation, that’s four hundred minutes, or six hours and forty minutes. In the end, that’s twenty-six hours and forty minutes a month which could have been devoted to something else. Even at only five minutes per tray (including sterilization, organization, wrapping, and storage), you’re still looking at just shy of thirteen and a half hours a month. That’s too much valuable time being wasted. And, no matter how passionate your internal personnel, they just won’t be able to sterilize a custom tray for you with the same level of proficiency that a professional option can. In the end, you should get a better tray that’s efficiently produced and delivered to you, simplifying procedures by taking the organizational component away and only requiring you find proper storage.

Ensuring Safe Operations

You should take any measure necessary to ensure that whichever operational procedures you’re conducting, they’re being conducted with the utmost safety and security. A custom tray can add quite a bit of security to any practice, and its easy to see why so many who regularly perform operations involve themselves with this new medical innovation.

The complications of the human body aren’t always predictable, even with modern means of treatment. The key to a custom tray is in the first word. Customization allows you to bring what experience you’ve had medically to the table, and ensure that your tray has precisely those instruments you require when the need arises. Additionally, it saves you the time of categorizing and cleaning everything yourself. Just have your custom tray order delivered, and when a patient walks in you can grab one and get to work.

Ordering Several Tray Families

It’s good to have the main battery of custom trays available in a safe storage location, and it’s better to have a second group available should you run out of the first. It’s best to have three total groups of custom trays. One is for backup, and the third is to backup the first backup. Sometimes a custom tray shipment may be mixed with another practice’s. In that event, expect the error to be rectified immediately and with all haste. But if you haven’t prepared for it, operations will be stilted for the day. Should a life and death scenario arrive, you’ll have to sterilize your own implements in a non-controlled sanitized environment. This is one reason ordering backups makes good sense.


Reduce Orders and Administration Costs on Custom Procedure Packs


Surgical Packs Save Lives

A surgical pack that has been custom-designed for specific surgeries can save time and money. Advantages of the custom made surgical pack include administrative savings, increased response times in emergencies, and the establishment of greater staff utility through increased availability.

Buying In Bulk

Bulk orders are usually going to net you some type of discount. Consider that you may need enough packs to last for your clinic’s regular operations cycle. Then accordingly, you need a line of backups in the event operations become more expansive than initial projections. Reasons increased purchases become necessary can be linked to:

  • Pandemics
  • Medical Trends
  • Legal Necessity
  • Declining Societal Health

In times of economic decline, health tends to wane among the population as a whole. In order to save money, people will often to allow their varying conditions to snowball until they’ve got no recourse but to seek medical attention. In such cases, a professionally prepared surgical pack could very well be the difference between life and death. So you’ll need two groups of surgical packs as a base-line measure of operational security and community health. It makes sense to purchase a tertiary group of these packs as well, in the event some shortage makes itself evident. Generally, the larger your surgical pack order, the less you’re going to pay.

Establish A Regular Procedure Of Purchasing

If your practice is going to remain viable, it must continuously serve the community. The surgical pack is a core element of operations, and so should be purchased on a cyclical basis. Establish what your needs are in a month, then triple that number for unseen exigencies. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have the three generations of surgical pack previously discussed. Then, when it comes time to replenish your supply, you’ve only got to replenish the primary “generation”–i.e., the packs that are commonly used in practice. You’ve already established several other tertiary pack families, so if demand gets high, your practice won’t be in the lurch. Once you know your numbers, define an automated purchase. Every month at scheduled a time, an automated order goes through the internet airwaves, reaching the group who sends out the packs. They send the next month’s supply, and you’ve always got options.

Ensure That Your Surgical Packs Are As Ordered

Another reason to order several iterations of surgical pack has to do with ensuring quality. 99.9999% of the time, you’re going to get exactly what you ordered. But human error and Murphy’s Law certainly play a part in the .0001% of the time you don’t. If you’ve always got backup packs, then should an order be shipped to the wrong clinic, no patients will be put at risk.

Fully Streamlining Operations

Between buying in bulk, establishing a regular purchasing procedure, and ensuring that the right surgical pack has been sent en masse to your establishment, you reduce expenses involved in the ordering and administration costs which concern custom procedure packs.

How Custom Procedure Packs Reduce Emergency Surgery Response Times


An Emergency, No Matter What Level

In the health profession, every emergency surgical procedure performed requires different medical instruments and tools. An emergency can be life-threatening where time is of the essence, or the situation is still an emergency, but there is time to treat the patient.

It makes no difference if the individual is already a patient in the hospital or awaits care in the hospital emergency room; time is of the essence in any urgent medical situation.

Who Uses Sterile Procedure Packs?

Each emergency requires a different set of medical tools and equipment to meet the emergency situation at hand. For instance, if the patient needs stitches the doctor would not use the same instruments for a patient requiring a tracheotomy. A surgical pack necessitates care in the following atmospheres.

  • Hospital emergency room
  • On the hospital medical floor
  • In the surgical operating room
  • On emergency ambulances
  • Extended care facilities
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Medical clinics and more
  • Podiatrists
  • Dentist
  • Eye clinics

Benefits of Using Prepackaged Procedure Packs

Individualized and specialized tools found in a surgical pack expedites the patient’s treatment. If it were not for a particular surgical pack already made up and designed for specific emergency situations, the professional would have to hunt for each tool to meet the situation at hand.

A surgical pack allows for all tools in one single sterile package. The medical professional does not have to hunt for and gather the needed tools together when time is of the essence.

The benefits to having a sterile surgical pack ready for hospital personnel are as follows.

  • Saves the hospital time and money
  • Saves the doctor and nurse time
  • The patient receives the needed care promptly
  • Increases efficiency
  • Increase quality of patient care
  • Allows for better inventory management of medical equipment and the cost of using these tools for each procedure
  • Significantly reduces the amount of storage needed for equipment
  • Increases medical emergency response times

Autoclaving a Thing of the Past

Years ago hospitals sterilized all of their medical tools and equipment through a process called autoclaving. A sterilization room with autoclaves was where these packs were put together to store in moment’s notice.

Medical Manufacturers’ Role in Procedure Packs

These days’ medical manufacturers receive orders from health facilities to design and put together a particular surgical pack for all sorts of medical emergencies. The manufacturer is always looking to the medical community for support on how they can put a surgical pack together more efficiently, in a cost-effective manner.

It is through the efforts of the health community and health manufacturer they can provide to doctors and nurses the right surgical pack for the right time and place.

A pre-packaged surgical pack is all set and ready to go with all the necessary sterilized tools needed to meet all emergencies. Those appointed the responsibility of ordering a surgical pack no longer have to account for every item or order each item individually as that person can now order the complete surgical pack.

What is Included in Procedure Packs

The list of sterile tools that medical professionals use every day is enormously wide and varied. The list below is just a few of the items found in a surgical pack.

  • Surgical swabs
  • Suture
  • Suture needles
  • Forceps
  • Dressings
  • Surgical blades
  • Sterile field drapes

Thanks to the combined efforts of medical professionals and manufacturers, a surgical pack has all the tools for the medical professional to meet the surgical needs of all patients.


Benefits of Standard Packs


The 21st Century
There are more people on the planet than in recorded history, and medicine is ostensibly at a zenith of effectivity. Increasing that effectivity requires innovation and progress. One of the most progressive, innovative new ways practices around the world are becoming more effective and efficient is through utilization of custom procedure trays, or standard packs. Custom procedure trays and such packs save a lot of time and effort, and can be exceptional benefits when there’s a massive influx of patients. Following are five prime advantages of this new innovation.

Efficiency Increase
With standard packs, you’re going to have an up-spike in efficiency. Custom procedure trays, also provide operation-ready equipment that’s been pre-sterilized and is immediately available. This means quicker operations and more effective use of time.

Exceptional Cost Savings
Custom procedure trays diminish time loss. If it takes even five minutes to make a tray ready for surgery, and there are a hundred needs for such a tray in a month, that’s 500 minutes a month, or eight hours and twenty minutes. At the end of a year’s time, a hundred hours have been spent on trays. If the employee time involved is $20 an hour, that comes to $2,000. Meanwhile, custom and standard procedure trays literally eliminates the majority of that cost.

The Value Of Product Standardization
Customized procedure trays feature products that have been standardized, and are subject to the rigors of that process. They will include only vetted tools and their hygienic decontamination will be subject to the highest scrutiny. Additionally, this ensures that the finest brands have a vested interest in ensuring you receive your custom procedure trays without incident.

Supply Consolidation Made Simple
With customized and standard procedure trays, you can keep all your ready-for-surgery equipment in a single place, and know that it will be safe. It makes sense to order several series of trays, this way you’ve got a backup in the event there’s some substantial emergency that requires it, and you’ve also got insurance against a misplaced order from the agency.

Inventory Management That’s Manageable
Custom procedure trays, beyond consolidating supplies, makes cataloguing them much less difficult. It’s going to take time to chase down where certain implements are, and if trays are constructed on-site, these could end up being spread just about anywhere. But you can cut down on such instances by knowing all necessary equipment is in a bevy of pre-prepared trays which are just awaiting to be used.

An Eminently Recommendable Option
With custom and standard procedure trays, the bottom line is saving and improving the healthcare of patients, in the most economical way.

  • Manageable Management of Inventory
  • Proper Supply Consolidation
  • Valuable Product Consolidation
  • Exceptional Savings
  • Increased Efficiency

There are a lot of reasons to make this switch, not least of them the security of knowing that a given clinic is ready to render the finest possible support at an unexpected notice. While it makes sense to have some kind of hygienic decontamination procedure on-site, the time it takes to use such measures on a regular basis makes the method less than ideal. With custom and standard procedure trays, there can also be the savings of the evaluation of antiquated hygienic methods.


When is the Trade Agreements Act (TAA) applicable in the production of surgical trays?

What Is The TAA?

The Trade Agreement Act was passed on the twenty-sixth of July, 1979. It was a congressional act whose purpose primarily pertained to negotiations made between the United States and foreign powers as regards trade agreements. Specifically, the trade act of 1979 governs agreements which were made between the US and other countries during the Trade Act of 1974. The purposes of this act are mainly implementation of 1974 agreements, but the act still has effect today. This is because it was also designed to help open up the trading system of the world with expanded commerce opportunities conducted under improved international trade regulation and enforcement. While written with open language, this language can have a restrictive nature when it comes to the acquisition of goods or services that will be used in federal contracts. This happens when those managing a project decide to run it through a TAA compliance check. Generally, products remain compliant so long as they’re manufactured in either the US or one of a list of designated countries that are allowed. The complete list of countries can be obtained from the Federal Acquistion Regulation (FAR) 52.225-5.

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Singapore
  • Australia
  • Countries in the WTO GPA (World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement)
  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Laos
  • Ethiopia
  • The Caribbean Basin (Aruba, Haiti, Costa Rica)

How Does The TAA Pertain To Surgical Trays?

So long as surgical trays you’ve purchased are produced in any of these countries, they should, by default, be TAA compliant. The difficulty comes with the implements that are contained in those trays. Sometimes medical breakthroughs come in the form of a new surgical tool that just hasn’t made its way into mainstream. In order to be sure that all equipment on your custom medical trays passes a TAA compliance check, you need to know that the vendors of the tools you’re purchasing have updated part numbers for their products in the DAPA Management System. Information to be included in the update pertains to the country from which a given product has been sourced.

Maintaining Health Requires Direct Attention

The health of your community could depend on whether or not you’ve received the proper order of custom surgical trays. Such trays are usually sterilized beforehand, and are already configured in ways surgeons can immediately utilize. Streamlined surgical tray procedures can facilitate quicker operation, leading to faster recovery and better health over time

When does a custom medical procedure tray expire? What determines the expiration date?

Custom medical trays are an exceptional product that make the flow of a medical office or facility so much more efficient and successful. The customization of the product allows for specific tools to be included in each kit; tailoring certain procedures to the needs of the medical professional using them. However, most people don’t consider that these custom trays actually have an expiration date and there are a number of factors that go into determining what this expiration date will be. Such determining factors are usually put into place by the Food and Drug Administration and followed by the company that is manufacturing the custom trays.

About Expiration Dates

The expiration of any product applies to the amount of time that a product is safe to use and will function how intended. If used after the expiration date is up, this can be a risk to the patient or consumer. When dealing with custom trays, the expiration date usually will be determined based on what exactly is in each tray. Certain items may last longer than others. For example, a tray with metal tools in it will last much longer than a tray that has something like a battery intended for a pacemaker.

What Determines An Expiration Date?

Ideally, items are analyzed in order to conclude when degradation of the products would occur. Degradation is present when there is a risk involved with continuing use of the products. Every product is different when it comes to expiration date so there are not always pre-set parameters that outline how an expiration date should be set. Serious consequences just aren’t worth it in these instances and the kit should either be returned or disposed of. There are typically five different sections that medical-grade products fall into when being assessed and that includes:

  • Physical
  • Chemical
  • Therapeutic
  • Toxicological
  • Microbiological

Physical Breakdown

Over time, with the packaging or the items in the tray change their composition?
This applies to viscosity, elasticity, appearance, strength, etc. Storage conditions may affect the product integrity and this is often listed on the exterior of the package as it applies to an expiration date.

Chemical Breakdown

A custom medical procedure tray will expire based on ingredients that may be present that are known to break down over time. Also, does the packaging break down over time in a way that would compromise the safety of the tray?


Medical procedure trays must stay sterile in order to be safe to use. Over time, this can change based on storage factors and the amount of time that passes. Sometimes preservatives are used and those have their own expiration date. Sometimes, special inspections need to be done periodically to ensure the sterile nature of the tray is in tact.

Therapeutic Breakdown

When expiration is considered, will the tools or device included in the procedure tray be able to function after a certain point?

Toxicological Breakdown

If the expiration date reaches its full maturity, will the product become toxic or unsafe?

Custom medical trays can be very simple or very elaborate with some trays dealing with minor conditions while others are used for more complex surgical procedures and such. When the expiration date is set according to proper standards and a medical facility follows these guidelines, the tools in the custom trays will work how they were designed. While there are other factors that may go into a natural defect with a tray, shelf life or expiration dates generally mean the product will be structurally in tact when needed.

What is the Trade Agreement Act (TAA)?

The Trade Agreements Act, or TAA, applies to GSA contracts which are vehicles for selling products on a federal, state, or local level. GSA contracts include pre-set terms, conditions and pricing that make the sales process more simple. The products that are discussed as part of these GSA contracts must comply with the Trade Agreements Act (TAA). All health products and other related products that fall under the GSA contracts apply.

Compliant Countries

When a health product is being considered for the Trade Agreements Act, that product needs to have been completed on a manufacture level in an approved country, otherwise compliance does not occur. There is an approved list of locations that fall under this category and these products can then become part of an approved GSA contract. The list is pretty extensive, making this process a bit simpler than it may originally sound.


In addition to health products, other related services apply to the Trade Agreement Act. What is taken into consideration is where the legal address of the company is located rather than where the services themselves are provided. As long as that address is located in an approved country or location, TAA compliance is secured.


The government attempts to provide strict enforcement when it comes to these GSA and TAA related products. While there may occasionally be a product or company that is located in a non-approved TAA country, a large percentage of the products and services are compliant. There are currently more than 20,000 contracts and products that are part of this act. Steps are being taken to improve upon the process of checking and enforcing compliance. Often times, when companies or products are overlooked by the GSA, reports are made by other compliant businesses that are unhappy with their competitor’s non-compliance. An investigation then takes place and if necessary, the products or services are removed. Confidentiality is ensured when a report is filed in order to protect the integrity of the other party that filed the report.

While the Trade Agreement Act, or TAA, relates to a wide variety of different products and services, health-related products fit onto this list as well. Achieving compliance on a GSA and TAA level allows health product companies to take their business to the next level and secure some pretty large clientele. Gaining leverage with the Department of Health and some other big organizations can bring in far more revenue than occurs when just sticking with smaller, privately owned companies.

Proper Processing of Custom Trays


Order of Operations For Custom Tray Processing

The four primary main steps involved in processing custom trays are:

  • Commissioning A Series of Custom Trays
  • Sterilization
  • Packaging
  • Storage
  • Monitoring

Commissioning Custom Trays

Custom trays must first be commissioned by a practice in need of them. Such practices often tabulate their regular operational expenses and requirements, then put together orders based on the proclivities of operating surgeons.


Custom trays must be properly sterilized or they’re useless. This procedure usually has several methods. Proper applications of sterilization, and monitoring, and record keeping requirements can provide proper sterilization, patient safety and cost effectiveness.


Custom trays must be packaged such that they’ll not only survive the trip from the place of configuration to the place of utilization, but such that they will remain sterile while stored. This means that packaging should be of a top-tier variety that recommends itself. Additionally, that packaging should be designed such that it conforms to a given tray’s eccentricities. Some equipment will have sharper edges than other equipment, and so must be stored accordingly.


Custom trays should not be stored near the ceiling or walls. They should be secured in as sterile an environment as possible. Additionally, some trays may not be stackable atop one another, as their particular tools would break through packaging over time. Finally, packaging must be done in such a way that the trays are continually accessible for purposes of monitoring.


Because pathogens, microorganisms, and other invading unknowns have a statistical probability of contaminating trays, orders of them must be monitored while in storage to ensure they remain sterilized. Additionally, if water or some other contaminant gets into storage, it could sour the whole lot of them. These things are preventable if everything is being closely monitored. Monitoring custom trays over time is essential to ensure they are fit for use later on.


Custom trays must be entirely disposed of after use.

Tray Management Facilitates Use

Order three families of tray. Those for immediate use, those for backup use, and a backup set for your backups in case all else fails. This provides perpetual utility.


The Life of Custom Trays


The Life of Custom Trays

The four main steps in the lifecycle of custom surgical trays are:

  • Decontamination
  • Packaging
  • Storage
  • Monitoring

The Decontamination Process

The instruments and the trays which carry the instruments must all be decontaminated properly before custom trays can be sent out to clients. This is done with a solution of water that has either been mixed with specialized cleaning solutions or some family of detergent before cleaning commences. Such solutions keep foreign materials from lingering on the equipment before it’s placed into a machine that mechanically washes and dries equipment. After this, items are inspected at the visual and microscopic level to ensure cleanliness before they’re shifted to packaging. Packaging also plays a small role in the decontamination process, as if it is not done correctly, custom trays will definitely be contaminated during transit or storage. Packaging of custom trays must be designed to ensure decontamination is a single step, and not a problem which continues to crop up.


Packaging must cover the entire tray and be done in a sterilized environment where foreign disease-ridden agents don’t have the ability to penetrate. Proper packaging is intensive and will stand the test of time, because some trays are used immediately, others are maintained on site as backup measures in the event a shipment delay or there’s some emergency which increases their demand.


Trays after being properly packaged, it is mandatory that trays be correctly stored. They should be away from the ceiling, away from the floor, and away from the walls. Custom trays should be allowed air circulation. It should be easy to monitor and clean the custom trays adequate. Avoid storing custom trays in wet areas that have a higher instance of contamination.


Continually monitor the status of your trays as they are stored. Additionally, methods of sterilization must be monitored to ensure that they are indeed effective. A number of methods are contemporarily used in order to facilitate this. There are mechanical monitors that keep tabs on temperature and pressure charges, and there are also chemical indicators which have been designed with heat sensitivity or chemical presence. Oftentimes these monitors are placed on exterior packaging. Additionally there are biological indicators which can be used to tell whether or not the sterilization process has been lethal to spores or other infections materials.

Having A Trustworthy Option

Decontamination involves packaging, storage, and monitoring. Because of the microscopic nature behind pathogens which may infect and complicate a surgery, there are often areas where previously-successful measures may prove non-effective. In such scenarios, regular monitoring and proper storage can catch a failure of traditional sterilization procedures. A good way to think of it is like this: sterilization isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. Just like your custom trays will travel from the place where they are packaged to where they will eventually be used. Initial sterilization will have a number of stages between first measures utilized and final operation. To ensure you get the most out of your custom trays, check the steps of the agency you use and be sure of their process.