Medical device reprocessing is a common practice in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The practice can save costs and prevent more waste from entering landfills. However, when devices are not properly cleaned, disinfected or sterilized, they can pose a serious hazard to patients—and that’s exactly this issue made the top 10 in ECRI’s 2018 list of Patient Safety Concerns for Healthcare Organizations.
Improperly handled devices can lead to the spread of harmful and potentially deadly bacteria or viruses. ECRI advises the following for healthcare facilities: They should make sure they have enough staff and equipment that can manage the reprocessing workload as well as ensure that personnel follow any guidelines and manufacturer instructions on reprocessing. In addition, they recommend that a facility have its water and environmental filtration system undergo regular surveillance and maintenance.
Failure to properly clean reusable instruments has often made the top 10 on ECRI’s annual Health Technology Hazards list, with duodenoscopes being a leading culprit in causing the spread of infections.