February 4th, 2019
Rigid endoscopes are amazing tools that enable physicians to see inside the body during minimally invasive surgeries.
New endoscopes can cost over $5,000 each and most hospitals have dozens in their surgical inventory, and larger hospitals may have hundreds. Is your OR budget breaking because you’re spending too much money on repairing rigid endoscopes? The best way to save money is to fix care and handling failures and prevent the scopes from needing to be repaired at all. Here are some of the top care and handling mistakes that hospitals make and their solutions:
1) Poor transportation practices – Turnover time is one of the most common key metrics for OR teams. In the frantic time between cases, all too often scopes are damaged during transportation due to items being stacked on top. Solution: place scopes back into their containers during transport, and don’t ever stack anything on top of them.
2) Scopes stacked together loosely in containers – Scopes are fragile, and when multiple scopes are put together they can both get damaged. Note: Don’t allow what may have been a simple, cheap repair to become a costlier repair by making this mistake with your repair bin. Solution: Keep scopes in secured in containers designed to protect scopes during transport, even if they are waiting to go out for repair.
3) Poor handling during reprocessing – Any hospital’s decontamination can be a chaotic place. This results in plenty of opportunities for overworked technicians to accidentally damage scopes through improper handling. Solution: You can partner with your local Northfield Territory Manager to deliver CE accredited in-services on proper rigid scope handling.
4) Physicians using scopes as a pry bar – Surgeons are rarely trained on practices that avoid damaging scopes. Consequently, surgeons will often use scopes as pry bars to move internal organ structures around. This movement and puts pressure on the scope body and often results in misaligned and broken lenses. Solution: Engage your surgeons and let them know that poor care and handling costs the hospital a significant amount of money unnecessarily. This may even be a conversation for the C-Suite to be involved with.
5) Allowing blood, saline, or other fluids to dry onto scopes – Point of use cleaning has become a major point of emphasis from regulatory and accrediting bodies, and for good reason. Dried blood and saline from the procedure can degrade the metal, glass, and sealant, particularly at the distal tip. This degradation can lead to fluid invasion and a blurry image. Solution: OR teams should wipe debris off instruments as often as possible during the case. Instruments should be sprayed with an appropriate enzymatic presoak prior to transportation to decontamination.
By: Michael Matthews, Clinical Education Manager