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The keys to successfully implementing a reprocessing initiative at an ambulatory surgery center

September 13, 2021
Business Affairs

4. Discuss quality expectations
Reprocessed devices are often held to a higher standard than new devices. For example, when a new device fails, someone on the surgical team goes to the storeroom and picks up another device to use in completing the procedure. The device that failed may be given to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) representative for a credit, but there are rarely consequences to the OEM when a new device falls short of expectations. Conversely, when a reprocessed device fails, we have seen entire reprocessing programs terminated. Keep in mind that a reprocessed device can only be as good as that of the original OEM device. If the original OEM device has limitations, the reprocessed device will too. Reprocessing companies do not take a device and make it better; they take a device an bring it back to a condition that is substantially equivalent to that of the new device. Granted, there are studies that show that new devices fail five times more frequently than those of their reprocessed counterpart, but when a reprocessed device fails, the fallout is far greater than that which is experienced with a new device failure.

Our advice is to treat a reprocessed device no differently than you would that of a new device. If a reprocessed device were to fall short of a surgeon’s expectation, save it; return it to your reprocessing company for a full evaluation.

5. Recognize the differences between reprocessing vendors
While the FDA ensures that all reprocessing companies offer quality reprocessed devices, the similarities between companies stop there. Some reprocessing companies will tell you that “you will save up to 50%” off your acquisition cost only to find out that their assigned pricing is far from a 50% savings. Others will “pool” your inventory in with devices received from other facilities and then make it available for any facility to purchase. Then when you are ready to place an order, you find out that that inventory is not available. You did all the work to collect the devices only to find out that a hospital in New York City or a Surgery Center in San Antonio got the benefit of your collection efforts. Lastly, evaluate the on-line systems offered by your reprocessing vendor to determine if they have systems technology that will help you manage your program. Does your reprocessing company offer user friendly tools to help you trend and track your savings? If not, look for a different reprocessing company as you cannot leave the success of your program to chance. Work with a company who can provide you with real-time information to help you manage your inventory and enhance your savings.

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