Surgical procedures are becoming more technologically advanced every day, which often means that the costs associated with medical instruments keep rising. One way that medical facilities are dealing with these costs is through the use of loaner instruments. However, one of the biggest challenges in the utilization of loaner instruments is how to ensure adequate reprocessing when hospital staff may be unfamiliar with complex or unusual devices.
Reasons for Using Loaner Medical Devices
In many cases, facilities cannot afford to purchase all of the specialized instruments required for every procedure performed. Rapidly advancing technology coupled with a lack of adequate storage space are just two reasons that facilities elect to use loaner instrumentation.
Efficient management of these loaner instruments can eliminate a number of the challenges that such usage presents. It is also important to recognize that loaner instrument tray management cannot be successful in isolation. Vendors and facilities alike must work together to ensure that the loaner instruments are sterilized properly and ready for use.
Challenges Facilities Face
Healthcare facilities face a number of challenges when using loaner instruments. First, facilities don't always receive delivery of loaner instruments with adequate time for reprocessing. The result can be costly surgical delays in order to avoid Immediate-use Steam Sterilization (IUSS). Hospital professionals tasked with reprocessing these instruments are often inexperienced in specific associated procedures, which compound additional challenges and inefficiencies.
Ultimately, the level of instrument complexity depends upon the type of procedure being performed. Vendors, Sterile Processing Departments and the Operating Room must all be educated on the steps of managing these loaner trays and the associated communication process. If one department is not on board, the program will falter, as tray management cannot be successful in isolation.
Loaner instrumentation tips
Here are some important suggestions for dealing with loaner instrument trays.
- Whenever possible, the sterile processing department of a facility should be notified about the arrival of loaner instruments well in advance.
- Loaner instruments should be received at least 48 hours before they are needed for surgery, to allow adequate processing time.
- Sterile Processing Departments should maintain vendor policies related to reception and pick-up of loaner trays
- Inventory lists (with pictures whenever possible) should be provided with loaner instruments.
- The FDA-approved manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, sterilization and packaging of the instruments should be provided to the facility.
- A full inventory and quality check of the received instruments should be completed by the facility.
- When receiving multiple loaner instrument trays, they should be clearly marked with patient and surgeon names.
- Another full inventory and quality check of the loaner instruments should be performed prior to returning them.
PREZIO Health, a surgical solutions company, offers loaner instrument tray management services throughout the entire continental United States. Please contact PREZIO Health for more information.