by Carol Ko
, Staff Writer | March 01, 2013
From the March 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By some estimates, 70 percent of endoscopes sent out for repair are damaged through improper care and handling. And though cross-contamination is very rare relative to the volume of procedures performed every year, creating and implementing a rigorous cleaning and disinfection program ranks as a top priority for most endoscopy departments. DOTmed Business News spoke with James Burns, general manager and partner of Endoscopy Support Services; Stuart Jackson, general manager of Pro Scope Systems; and Cesar Martin, president of Pro Endoscopy to learn how you can avoid costly problems and get the most out of your machine.
- Prevent the fragile distal tip from hitting the floor, equipment, or any other hard object. Consider buying a sheath or protector for it. When endoscopes are stored they should hang vertically with the distal tips hanging freely in a well-ventilated dust-free space. Pad the lower portion of the storage space to further protect the scope.
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- Make sure to fully educate the whole staff—including nurses and biotechnicians—on the direct correlation between proper scope care and handling and the safety of the operation.
- Scopes should be pre-cleaned immediately after procedures with an approved enzymatic solution. Thoroughly rinse out the instrument with water to remove traces of the enzymatic solution and reduce chemical damage.
- The scope’s image quality can be affected by misalignment of the scope’s internal components. To see whether the alignment needs to be adjusted, gently coil the scope’s insertion tube while monitoring image, checking for flickering, color stains, shadows or total blackout.
- Unresponsive distal end or the endoscope not turning far enough may signal a problem with the angulation wires. This low-cost repair can turn into a costly rebuild if ignored. Rotate the control knobs to ensure that the distal end is able to fully extend.
- Damage to the c-cover—the tip that covers the distal—is often overlooked, but scratches, cracks and burns can pose a potential contamination hazard.
- Perform all recommended procedures such as leak tests, brushing, flushing, and disposal of single-use valves.