Single Use Medical Instruments: Why Healthcare Systems Should Make the Switch
July 5, 2018
What are Single Use Medical Instruments?
Single use medical instruments are devices, usually made of plastic, created to be used once on a single patient during a single procedure and then disposed.
Examples include: Hypodermic needles, syringes, applicators, suction catheters, and surgical sponges.
The Benefits of Single Use vs. Reusable Medical Devices:
Safer for Patients
Single use devices guarantee a more complete sterilization. They are packaged only once to minimize human contact and are then disposed of after use, controlling infection and eliminating contamination.
More Cost Effective for Hospitals
Sterilizing reusable instruments is an ongoing cost, even if there is a sterilization facility on site. Some of these ongoing costs include: transportation to and from a sterilizing facility, manpower to reprocess the instrument, and resources (energy to make steam, use of chemicals, and machinery).
With single use instruments, there is a one-time cost.
Less Lost Surgical Time Due to Unavailability of Instruments
With single use instruments there is no delay or wait time for the sterilization process or repair process.
Smaller Environmental Impact
At first glance, disposable instruments appear to be more wasteful, but compared with reusable instruments, the time and energy saved using single use instruments speaks for itself.
The sterilization process utilizes a lot of time and water consumption– it’s a very energy demanding process. It requires detergents and devices to be transported to off-site decontamination facilities, and involves repeated repackaging. Single use instruments only require packaging materials once.
Packaging Digest spoke with Jason Haider, founder of Xenco Medical, about the benefits of single use devices and reported that, “Each steam sterilization cycle requires an average of 300 to 400 gallons of water, and every complex surgery with reusable instruments requires several of these cycles.”
Convenience Driven by Prepackaged Kits
Packaged kits are made convenient for staff, grouping instruments together and organizing them by size. Some services, like Xeno Medical, ensure inventory is well stocked and provide a timely restocking service.
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