When picking between reusable medical devices or disposable medical supplies, healthcare practitioners must weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each.
What are Disposable Medical Devices?
Single-use devices are ones that are used on a single patient for a single procedure and then discarded. Reusable medical devices are ones that must be cleaned, disinfected, and sterilized after being used in a procedure. When deciding between disposable item and reusable item, the first consideration should be any risk to patient safety. Aside from contamination and infection hazards, other variables to consider include environmental effect, cost-efficiency, and time savings.
What are the advantages of using disposable medical devices?
The primary reason is that using disposable medical devices reduces cross-contamination among patients. Reusable medical devices must be completely and thoroughly sterilized before they can be used again. Companies are exposed to growing regulatory responsibilities in addition to expanding sterilization design considerations. The FDA has tight sterilization process standards, which devices must demonstrate in the submission process. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of sterilizing and disposable medical equipment in halting the spread of disease has intensified.
There is no doubt that the trend toward disposable medical devices have been consistent over the years, and it is likely to increase. Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) pose a significant risk to patients and can be extremely costly to hospitals and clinics in ways other than insurance claims. Healthcare facilities face penalties in the form of reduced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. Reusable medical equipment have historically been associated with a higher risk of cross-contamination, surgical site infections, and HAI than single-use devices. Patients are put at unnecessary danger during operations and procedures involving reusable medical devices. Single-use devices are sterilized, individually packaged disposable instruments that pose none of the dangers associated with reusable instruments.
Medical waste is an important consideration when choosing single-use medical devices against reusable medical devices. Because such devices are considered ecologically harmful, attempts are being made to find alternatives. Furthermore, there is a lengthy process involved in repurposing a medical device. It takes time, and the 'hidden' expenses of reusable medical devices pile up. Cleaning materials, personnel and personnel training, equipment, decontamination or sterilization methods, maintenance and replacement, tracking and accounting, and other related upkeep are all continuous costs for reprocessing medical devices. Single-use devices are given ready to use, with no time required on reprocessing. It’s another reason that single-use medical devices are becoming more appealing than reusable devices.