The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) Advocacy Team wants to make its membership aware of a new issue facing the health care physical environment by addressing a question recently posed in the field: Do sterilized instruments kept in clinics (business occupancies) have to be stored in a humidity-controlled environment?

If your state or local jurisdiction has adopted ANSI/AAMI ST79, Comprehensive guide to steam sterilization and sterility assurance in health care facilities, then sterilized instruments in clinics (business occupancies) still need to be stored in a temperature and humidity controlled environment as ANSI/AAMI ST79 defines “health care facilities” as hospitals, nursing homes, extended-care facilities, free-standing surgical centers, clinics, and medical and dental offices.

If there are no state or local requirements for sterilized instrument storage for clinics (business occupancies), a health care organization should generate its own policy.