Hospitals that perform bronchoscopies can reduce readmission rates by more than half, and potentially lower costs, by adopting single-use flexible bronchoscopes.
That’s according to a new abstract that was submitted and presented at the recently completed CHEST 2021 annual meeting. The study examined the health outcomes of 14,228 patients who underwent a bronchoscopy procedure and found that sterile, single-use bronchoscopes reduced the readmissions rate from 7.7 percent to 3.6 percent — a 53 percent drop — compared with reusable bronchoscopes.
Reducing preventable hospital readmissions is a national priority for payers, providers, and policymakers seeking to improve healthcare and lower costs. Medical device companies such as Ambu A/S and Boston Scientific Corp., meanwhile, are developing a range of endoscopes that can be used once and discarded, or have disposable components, to prevent cross-contamination and boost patient safety.
This abstract publication follows a recent safety communication update from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on reprocessing flexible bronchoscopes. The agency is recommending that healthcare providers consider using single-use bronchoscopes when there is increased risk of spreading infection and when treating COVID-19 patients.
The study — done by Dr. Hudson Garrett, an infection prevention expert — analyzed patient procedures from both inpatient hospitals and outpatient ambulatory facilities. The patient cohort whose procedure was performed with a reusable flexible bronchoscope was 2.3 times more likely to be readmitted within 30 days than the patient group examined with a sterile, single-use flexible bronchoscope, according to the analysis.
The analysis “demonstrates significant clinical benefits,” Garrett wrote in the abstract. Sterile single-use bronchoscopes “should be considered to eliminate reprocessing failures, improve overall operational efficiency, and reduce potential acquisition of healthcare-associated infections.”
Dr. Garrett is an Ambu consultant and an expert in infection prevention, infectious disease, and medical device safety. He’s an adjunct assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
Click here to access the published abstract and learn more about the study.