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6 Risks of Reusable Medical Devices Besides Cross-Contamination

6 Risks of Reusable Medical Devices Besides Cross-Contamination

When most healthcare professionals think about risks associated with medical devices, they tend to zero in on the threat of cross-contamination. However, the spread of infection is not the only threat. Power surges, component shortages, corrosion, and maintenance issues can all threaten your daily productivity and patient care goals. Below are six risks of reusable medical devices and the single best way you can avoid them.


1) Power Surges and Blown Fuses

Many reusable medical devices have electrical components to handle a specific voltage. If a power surge occurs, or if you try to use a 110-volt piece of equipment in a country with 220-volt power, you may blow your fuses or permanently damage your equipment. Also, replacing fuses or power supplies is not always a fast or easy process.

A growing number of practitioners are gravitating toward single-use devices, which have their own high-powered internal light sources and are battery-operated. They do not require electricity, thereby preventing power surges and blown fuses. Indeed, the result is a smoother, safer procedure.


2) Corrosion and Staining

“Spotting, staining, and corrosion of surgical instruments can impair their function. For example, a hemostat may not open because of corrosion in the box area, scissors and scalpels could become dull, and instruments could break during surgery as a result of severe corrosion. Spotting, staining, and corrosion also interfere with sterilization.” – Herbert J. Kaiser, PhD; Patrick Schwab, MBA; Jason F. Tirey, MA

The operating rooms contain reusable stainless steel medical devices. While stainless steel offers superb durability and strength, stainless steel devices are prone to corrosion, spotting, and staining. This can ultimately impact their utility and possibly interfere with treatment.

In addition to potentially impacting treatment, signs of corrosion can have a negative impact on your patients’ level of confidence in your ability to deliver quality care. For instance, they may interpret corrosion as a sign that you are failing to keep your medical equipment clean and sterile. Even worse, they may wonder if you are using old or outdated equipment at your facility.


3) Backordered Parts

Few things are more frustrating than being unable to use a device because a key component has failed. And just when it seems that your frustration could not mount any further, you discover that the component you need is on backorder and will not be available for two weeks. Backorders on components such as light source cables, reusable blades, and replacement lamps can lead to costly delays in key procedures. They can also interfere with treatment goals and ultimately impact your healthcare center’s bottom line.


4) Equipment Wear and Tear

It is virtually impossible to prevent regular wear and tear to frequently used devices, especially when so many doctors, nurses, and support staff come into contact with your equipment. Wear and tear, along with potential damage, can occur during handling, cleaning, and processing. Here are some of the most common types of damage that can impact the utility of reusable equipment

  • Damaged cords and cables: Fiber optic cables and power cords are often stepped on or rolled over by stools, chairs, and mobile stands.
  • Worn blades: Years of use can cause blades to separate from their hinges. Sometimes blades may even separate from their handles.
  • Decreased illumination: Reusable light sources may not offer the same brilliant illumination after years of use.


5) Lost or Stolen Equipment

Reusable video laryngoscopes are among the many types of reusable devices that can cost thousands of dollars to purchase. The unit cost of single-use devices, on the other hand, pales in comparison to reusable equipment. If a disposable device is lost or stolen, it won’t cost as much to replace as a reusable one.


6) Maintenance Issues

Reusable devices and equipment require regular maintenance and ongoing care. They require removal of the devices from your procedure room and a thorough inspection by a trained equipment specialist. If a reusable device is malfunctioning, you cannot use that device until repaired. You may also be subject to a costly service visit or be required to retrieve detailed service records that are incomplete or non-existent.


What Is the Best Way to Prevent the Risks Above?

6 Risks of Reusable Medical Devices Besides Cross-Contamination


Cross-contamination is one of the most well-known risks associated with reusable devices. However, there are other key risk factors that impact the safety and utility of reusable devices. Fortunately, you can avoid these risks by replacing your reusable medical devices with single-use devices whenever possible.

As the world’s leading provider of single-use medical devices, obp offers an extensive array of single-use devices designed to help minimize risks. Our anoscopes, speculums, and video laryngoscopes are designed to promote safety for high-quality medical care. Here are just a few benefits our single-use devices offer:

  • Brand new construction: Every obp single-use device is brand new, eliminating the need to worry about wear and tear.
  • No electricity needed: obp’s disposable devices are battery-operated to prevent any problems or damage due to power surges.
  • A maintenance-free design: Single-use devices never require costly maintenance.
  • No backorders: Every single-use device is complete for one use, thereby eliminating the need to source replacement parts.
  • FDA-approved: obp’s disposable medical devices are FDA-approved.
  • Superb support: Customers have easy access to obp’s medical device specialists and placing new orders is a simple process.


Learn More About the Risks of Reusable Medical Devices

To learn more about the many benefits of our single-use medical devices, we invite you to contact us at obp. One of our trained medical device specialists will review your equipment inventory and help you identify how our disposable devices can help you minimize risks while maximizing productivity and profitability at your facility. We look forward to helping you create a safe and efficient environment for your patients and staff.


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