Reprocessing medical devices may have been a long-standing best practice in the medical industry, but as healthcare costs continue to rise, medical facilitators are turning to disposable medical devices, a more cost-effective, reliable solution compared to reprocessed devices.
The most common surgeries performed in the United States, such as hysterectomies and gallbladder removal, require quality medical devices for a successful operation. With a high demand for these crucial procedures, healthcare costs are continuing to rise.
According to a study published in Health Affairs in late 2020, US healthcare spending increased 4.6%, reaching $3.8 trillion in 2019. The share of the economy devoted to healthcare spending was 17.7% in 2019 compared with 17.6% in 2018.
When the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head at the beginning of 2020, significant changes in healthcare utilization and processes were reported as a result. Anne Martin, economist for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said that it’s not clear how the pandemic impacted healthcare spending for 2020, but it’s bound to be an astounding increase that continues into 2021.
“The full impact of the pandemic on the healthcare sector is still not known, but it will certainly have profound consequences on the provision and consumption of healthcare in 2020 and perhaps beyond,” Martin said.
Medical device reprocessing plays a crucial factor in the increase of medical facilitator healthcare costs.
According to a study released by Rady Children’s Hospital, medical device reprocessing, including maintenance, packaging, labor, and high-level disinfection, costs approximately $0.51 to $0.77 per instrument. The study also found that only 13% to 21.9% of opened instruments are ultimately used. When reusable medical equipment is opened for a surgical procedure, all instruments are “exposed” and must be decontaminated, re-assembled, and sterilized. If you don’t use the instrument in the OR, you are still required to pay the administration costs of reprocessing the device.
Not only is medical device reprocessing adding to the increase in cost, but medical device sterilization is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that requires detailed steps for success.
The goal of medical device sterilization is to efficiently prepare devices for reuse; it’s an important process to ensure patient safety. By removing blood, tissue, and other biological debris, MDR technicians inactivate infectious microbes, so devices are safe for the next patient.
Certified MDR technicians perform the medical device sterilization process at:
- Large healthcare facilities
- Small inpatient and outpatient centers
- Medical office suites
- Ambulatory surgery centers
- Stand-alone reprocessing facilities
Medical device reprocessing technicians are consumed with the labor-intensive challenge of ensuring patient safety every day, all day. While reprocessing steps are detailed and complex, including maintenance, packaging, labor, and high-level disinfection, we’ve broken them down into three concise steps for a better understanding:
- After being used in an operating room (OR), reprocessed medical devices receive an initial decontamination and cleaning, removing blood, tissue, and other contaminants from the device.
- The device is transferred to the reprocessing work area where it’s thoroughly cleaned.
- The device is either disinfected or sterilized, depending on the intended future use of the instrument, and is stored or transferred back into use.
Due to the high average cost and time-consuming steps for medical device reprocessing, reusing medical equipment is becoming obsolete. Device reprocessing is not only costly and time-consuming, but continuing to reprocess the same device over and over increases the chance of the device failing during surgery, putting the patient at risk.
Top healthcare facilities and hospitals are realizing that the sterilization method for reusable medical devices is not cost efficient or productive. As a result, medical facilitators are turning to single-use medical devices or disposable medical equipment to improve cost effectiveness without compromising quality.
Top hospitals and medical centers are turning to disposable medical devices because of their endless benefits:
- Prevents decontamination
- Allows seamless traceability
- Eliminates inventory overflow
- Improves risk management
- Reduces costs
- Decreases environmental impact
Reprocessable medical devices can break down over time, forcing you to purchase a replacement and continue reprocessing over and over. And if a device has been reprocessed too many times and fails in surgery, it causes a headache and safety risk in the OR while the patient is potentially under anesthesia.
With Remington Medical, you can eliminate medical device reprocessing and labor costs, benefitting from our comprehensive line of disposable medical supply devices. Our team of experts design and manufacture all of our devices in-house, making sure purchasing costs remain low without compromising quality and on-time delivery. From disposable medical cables to needles and guides, top healthcare centers and hospitals in the United States depend on our equipment and supplies to improve patient comfort. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you eliminate medical device reprocessing costs.
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