A full team of stakeholders should participate when it comes to making a purchasing decision about a reusable vs. single-use endoscope.

Public Health

The Role of Diversity in Decision-Making: AORN's Approach to Endoscope Procurement

"You should take into account the financial costs involved, the endoscope's lifespan, how many uses you can get out of it, your inventory needs, and the volume of procedures you perform."

AORN’s updated guidelines advise adding educators to the stakeholders included in endoscope purchasing and competency decisions to help identify needs and certify skills.

So said Amber Wood, senior perioperative practice specialist at AORN, during a recent episode of the Process This podcast, produced by the Healthcare Sterile Processing Association (HSPA), formerly known as IAHCSMM.

She also stressed that involving a diverse group of professionals — including sterile processing staffers — in purcashing and competency processses can have a significant impact on endoscope performance and cost-effectiveness. This  helps avoids issues with incompatible or complex processing methods and keeps best practices for processing top of mind when evaluating performance and cost.

Things to Consider About Endoscopes

"You should take into account the financial costs involved, the endoscope's lifespan, how many uses you can get out of it, your inventory needs, and the volume of procedures you perform," when evaluating single-use vs. reusable endoscopes, Wood said.

To assess the environmental impact and sustainability of an endoscope, you should consider its entire lifecycle, including costs, waste regulations, recycling, and reprocessing. 

It's also crucial to think about how you'll store and dispose of the endoscopes and the maintenance required for their repair, Wood said.

Reprocessing Challenges

Choosing a reprocessing method can be a dilemma for healthcare facilities given the strict cleaning and sterilization protocols recommended by ANSI/AMMI ST91 standards and AORN guidelines. 

She offered tips for decision-makers when contemplating an endoscope purchase:

• Thoroughly assess your facility's unique requirements, scrutinize your budget, evaluate your staffing needs, and gauge your procedure volume.

• Do not overlook the cost per case in your analysis, and consider the time it takes for a highly skilled processing technician to clean the endoscope. Their meticulous work is pivotal to ensuring a safe device.

Click here to listen to the Process This podcast episode.

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