Posted on November 10, 2017 by Cogentix Medical

Endoscope Reprocessing and Other Technology Hazards to Watch in 2018

Endoscope reprocessing does not pass the testThere are some lists you want to stay on – the “nice list,” the “preferred seating list,” to name a couple. The Top 10 Health Technology Hazards list from the ECRI institute is not one of them. Unfortunately, endoscope reprocessing has made the cut for eight of the last 10 years and claims spot number two in the ECRI Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2018

The Top 10 Health Technology Hazards highlights the potential sources of danger that the ECRI Institute feels should be given priority attention in the upcoming year. The goal of the report is simple. “The safe use of health technology … requires identifying possible sources of danger of difficulty with those technologies and taking steps to minimize the likelihood that adverse events occurs,” the report states.  And, indeed, by shining a light on the most significant risks and providing step-by-step recommendations for addressing the hazards, the ECRI Institute has helped move healthcare towards safer practices in many areas. Yet, it appears that there’s still significant work to be done to ensure the sterility of patient-ready endoscopes.

Reprocessing Methods Remain Top Hazard

In the years since the ECRI Institute has been publishing the list, topics have come and gone from the list. However, one near constant towards the top of the list has been concerns about endoscope reprocessing methods. This 2018 report states, “Studies highlighting the challenges of this process, along with continuing reports of patient exposures to contaminated instruments, underscore why this topic remains a critical concern.” The report highlights two specific areas of concern:

  • Manual cleaning - “If biologic debris and other foreign material is not cleaned from the endoscope first, residual soil can harden, making subsequent disinfection ineffective.”
  • Endoscope storage after reprocessing - “Moisture trapped in the channels of an endoscope can promote the proliferation of any microbes not eradicated by reprocessing.”

Conventional Endoscope Reprocessing is Hard

Let’s face it, endoscope reprocessing is not getting any easier.  It’s now estimated that it takes 76 minutes of hands-on time to reprocess one scope.  And, while best practices indicate that channels should be brushed multiple times to remove medical soils and that staff check their work using a biochemical cleaning-verification test, mistakes happen, especially when the sterile processing and distribution department is being pressured to quicken the pace of endoscope reprocessing. As a result, the endoscope’s channel and ports may be insufficiently cleaned or the endoscope may be stored with a wet channel.  Both are things which can pose significant risks to patient safety.

A New Endoscope Channel Every Time

What if you could be guaranteed a clean, sterile working channel for every case? What if this could be accomplished with significantly less steps and in less time than with conventional reprocessing? What kind of impact could that have on infection prevention? That’s exactly the value the EndoSheath Protective Barrier provides to healthcare facilities. EndoSheath is a sterile, single-use endoscope barrier which contains the working channel, ports and seals. The EndoSheath is used with the specially designed reusable PrimeSight endoscope.

Following the endoscopy, the PrimeSight endoscope is removed from the EndoSheath and the EndoSheath is discarded. Because the scope does not come in direct contact with the patient nor house any small channels, there is no need for HLD between procedures. Instead, the scope is cleaned with an enzymatic wipe, rinsed, and wiped with 70% isopropyl alcohol. This process means that the scope will be ready for the next procedure in less than 10 minutes, and the surgeon can feel confident that they are introducing a sterile product into their next patient.

For over a decade, EndoSheath has been recognized in guidelines for microbial barriers in flexible endoscopy. In addition, every EndoSheath is 100% leak tested, with a 0% acceptable failure rate; and in over 25 years of use and more than 5 million sold, there have been ZERO reports of patient-to-patient cross contamination.

The EndoSheath Protective Barrier is available for PrimeSight Systems in Bronchoscopy, Cystoscopy, Esophagoscopy, and Laryngoscopy.

Complete List: Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2018

  1. Ransomware and Other Cybersecurity Threats to Healthcare Delivery Can Endanger Patients
  2. Endoscope Reprocessing Failures Continue to Expose Patients to Infection Risk
  3. Mattresses and Covers May Be Infected by Body Fluids and Microbiological Contaminants
  4. Missed Alarms May Result from Inappropriately Configured Secondary Notification Devices and Systems
  5. Improper Cleaning May Cause Device Malfunctions, Equipment Failures, and Potential for Patient Injury
  6. Unholstered Electrosurgical Active Electrodes Can Lead to Patient Burns
  7. Inadequate Use of Digital Imaging Tools May Lead to Unnecessary Radiation Exposure
  8. Workarounds Can Negate the Safety Advantages of Bar-Coded Medication Administration Systems
  9. Flaws in Medical Device Networking Can Lead to Delayed or Inappropriate Care
  10. Slow Adoption of Safer Enteral Feeding Connectors Leaves Patients at Risk

Learn More about the Path to Sterile Endoscopy Webinar Series

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