The Top 7 Reasons Why Small Practices Should Switch to Single-Use Medical Devices
As the owner or manager of a small medical practice, you likely do everything you can to deliver a safe, superb patient experience while controlling costs. But with limited staff and resources, achieving this goal can be an intimidating task. Fortunately, the availability of single-use medical devices now makes reaching this goal easier than ever. From their forward-thinking design to their superb efficiency, single-use devices have revolutionized patient care. Below is a look at some of the challenges facing small medical practices and seven reasons why they should use single-use medical devices.
What are some of the challenges facing practices that work with reusable devices?
Small practices and clinics working with reusable devices face an array of challenges on a daily basis. In addition to caring for patients, they must find time to sterilize and maintain equipment while staying abreast of regulatory changes and controlling infection. Here is a look at some of the unique challenges facing small medical practices:
1) Overburdened staff
Physicians, nurses, and assistants must find time to sterilize equipment, which often requires pre-soaking, cleaning, drying, packaging, and loading. This process can interfere with healthcare providers’ ability to care for patients, leading to overworked staff and high turnover.
2) Strained budgets
Controlling expenses is often difficult for a private practice seeking to offer the latest technology. Medical equipment costs, equipment maintenance fees, and overhead charges can quickly overwhelm a new practice that is juggling expenses each month.
3) Infection control
Patient safety and infection control are key concerns for practices of any size. Making sure that reusable devices are clean and sterile before they are employed requires time and keen attention to detail.
How do single-use medical devices help small practices overcome these challenges?
Making the switch to single-use devices is a simple, cost-effective way to overcome the issues outlined above. While single-use devices offer an extensive range of benefits, there are seven key ways single-use medical devices help small medical practices. They are as follows:
1) Improve patient safety
“Using disposable items improves patient safety by eliminating the risk of patient-to-patient contamination because the item is discarded and not used on another patient.”
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
As the owner or operator of a small practice or clinic, you likely strive to improve patient safety in every way possible. Single-use devices help achieve this goal by virtually eliminating the possibility of cross-contamination between patients. Used devices are discarded following their use, preventing patient fluids and bacteria from being transferred from one patient to another.
2) Reduce expenses
Adopting single-use devices can have a major positive impact on a small practice’s budget. While there may not initially appear to be cost advantages, single-use devices offer impressive long-term savings. Additionally, staff can treat more patients because they are not spending time maintaining or sterilizing reusable equipment. Here are some specific ways single-use devices help control expenses:
- Eliminate equipment maintenance costs
- Erase costs associated with the cleaning and sterilization process
- Eliminate the need to purchase consumables and replacement parts
3) Minimize environmental destruction and decontamination costs
“Most single-use devices and components are composed of materials that can be recycled. Thanks to the increased focus on patient-centered care and accountability, recycling is becoming the preferred management method for single-use medical products.”
– Sam Brusco, Medical Product Outsourcing
People across the globe dump 2.12 billion tons of waste per year. Some people mistakenly assume that disposable devices would cause this number to increase. However, disposable devices actually cause far less harm to the environment because they do not require the repeated use of disinfecting solutions, which have a detrimental impact on the environment. Additionally, a growing number of single-use devices are made with recyclable materials.
4) Eliminate sterilization woes
Reusable devices such as specula and laryngoscopes require sterilization, which is a costly and time-consuming process. Successful sterilization requires the steps below, which require significant time and resources:
- Process preparation: Wearing gloves and other protective equipment is important when prepping used devices for sterilization
- Pre-soaking: This measure can help remove hardened debris from devices prior to sterilizing them.
- Cleaning: The CDC recommends that any remaining debris be removed with an ultrasonic cleaner prior to sterilization.
- Drying: In order to help prevent contamination, devices should be fully dried prior to sterilizing them.
- Packaging: Prior to placing reusable devices in a sterilizer, they must be properly packaged in sealed pouches or wraps.
- Loading: Overloading a sterilizer with too many instruments and devices can cause delays and impede sterilization.
5) Bolster convenience
“Single-use medical items, like any disposable product, are convenient. Instead of repairing, cleaning and sterilizing a used device, a health care provider can just open a new one.”
– Roger Collier, Canadian Medical Association Journal
Single-use devices are lightweight and easy to store. They do not require any cumbersome cords or electricity, enabling staff to move about freely while using them during patient procedures.
6) Enhance technology
Single-use devices offer the latest cutting-edge technology to help small practices thrive. Examples include LED lighting, heat-free illumination, and single-use battery operation. This combination of convenience and cutting-edge design helps small practices gain an edge over their competitors.
7) Increase efficiency
“Disposable medical devices increase the number of patients that can be treated, as they do not require the lengthy cleaning and resterilization processes associated with reusable equipment.”
– Jerome Jackson, Vice President of Research and Development for Stellartech Research Corporation
Single-use devices require no prep time or sterilization, enabling healthcare staff to tend to patients quickly and efficiently. Physicians, nurses, and support staff no longer have to grapple with sterilization procedures and they are able to devote more time to delivering quality care.
The Bottom Line
From cost savings to improved efficiency, disposable devices can take your small practice to the next level of success. We invite you to contact us at obp to learn more about the many ways that single-use medical devices can enhance patient care and increase productivity at your busy medical practice. We look forward to becoming your trusted source for single-use devices.