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Device reuse issues and
patient communications
are ECRI Institute concerns

After Las Vegas Hepatitis Scare, ECRI Institute Provides Guidance About Device Reuse

by Barbara Kram , Editor
PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA--ECRI Institute, an independent, nonprofit organization that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, has created a new online resource devoted to medical device reuse issues. The free site, www.ecri.org/device_reuse/Pages/infection.aspx, provides access to a select number of guidance articles from ECRI Institute's research library. The site includes recommended practices, as well as policy and procedure development tools on patient communication and device reuse issues.

"The recent situation in Las Vegas, where nearly 40,000 people were potentially exposed to hepatitis B and C viruses and HIV has renewed public concerns about patient infection from inappropriate reuse of medical devices," says Mark Bruley, Vice President for Accident and Forensic Investigation at ECRI Institute. "We've brought together a number of our resources on one site to help physicians understand the current issues and risks of reuse and to assist them in the proper management of medical device reuse."

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In the news recently was a hepatitis scare among some former patients of the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada who tested positive for Hepatitis C. According to Edward M. Bernstein & Associates, a personal injury law firm, blood borne diseases may possibly threaten thousands of people who received treatment in Las Vegas since March 2004. These may include approximately 40,000 patients who received injections of anesthesia at the clinic. The law firm has been retained by former patients who received routine check-ups and colonoscopies. Apparently, the clinic was reusing syringes, according to Ed Bernstein, Managing Partner, who is looking into the allegations.

The ECRI Institute is addressing public concerns via the website, which also features new guidance on recommended practices for multiuse vials from ECRI Institute's recently published Physician Office Fundamentals in Risk Management and Patient Safety, a 250-page guide with information and tools for complex safety and risk issues in physician offices.

ECRI Institute has published hundreds of guidance articles, evidence reviews, medical product alert reports, and practical toolkits around the reuse of medical devices. Its range of expertise also includes participation in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's round table discussion about their proposed regulations on reuse.

For more information about ECRI Institute's resources on device reuse and patient communications, please e-mail communications(at)ecri.org, call +1 (610) 825-6000, or mail to ECRI Institute, 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462.

About ECRI Institute

ECRI Institute, a nonprofit organization, dedicates itself to bringing the discipline of applied scientific research to healthcare to uncover the best approaches to improving patient care. As pioneers in this science for 40 years, ECRI Institute marries experience and independence with the objectivity of evidence-based research. ECRI Institute is designated a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization and an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. For more information, please visit www.ecri.org.

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