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New Endoscope Drying Cabinets Prove To Be A Saving Grace

Having endoscopes on hand whenever they’re required can be costly, time-consuming and a constant source of stress in hospitals nationwide.

With the new EN16442 standard coming into force in November 2022, Grace Hospital in Tauranga recently invested in Smartline’s new Rotascope drying cabinets which can safely store endoscopes for up to seven days.

“The new cabinets mean we’ve now eliminated an hour of work every day for one of our team members who had to process the scopes, ready for that day’s list,” explains Grace Hospital Endoscopy Team Leader Sarah Harcus. “It also means the equipment is available to our doctors when they want it rather than us saying ‘oh actually you can’t have that one because it’s expired and we need to reprocess it again’.”

Under the old system, endoscopes only remained sterile for 72 hours before needing to be reprocessed again. When Grace Hospital weighed up whether to invest in new drying cabinets now or wait until the new standard is implemented, the financial and productivity benefits became clear.

“We realised we could save a lot of money on our cleaning products and our staff time. We estimate it costs around $70 to reprocess each scope. So if you can eliminate needing to do extra cycles through your cleaning machine, then that’s a direct cost saving and a time saver as well. And we’re getting busier so we needed to make sure that we had scopes ready whenever the doctors need them.

“Previously, if there was a long weekend like Easter off, we would come back and have all of our endoscopes expired on the Tuesday. We’d have to come in at half past five in the morning and reprocess them all before the list. So that’s the other benefit – a reduction in staff overtime. You’re not having to start someone early in the morning and then have them into overtime by the end of the day.”

The Smartline cabinets can store up to nine endoscopes and are compliant with the new EN16442 standard. They feature an independent HEPA filtered air supply and no infrastructure from the hospital is required.

“The cabinets actually monitor their own environment,” Sarah explains. “It will alarm if the cabinet is too warm or too humid, or if there is a disconnection of the airflow so we can fix it immediately. The old cabinets didn’t have that system so couldn’t alert us if there was ever a problem.”

The Australian-made cabinets, supplied to Grace Hospital by Opritech, have electronic tracking for each scope so they can be easily traced for auditing purposes which is required under the new standard.

“As the team leader I can log in and see all the status of the scopes. I can see remotely on my laptop whether they need to be reprocessed or how long they’ve been in the cabinet for, who put them in and who’s taken them out. It means that we can track the individual scopes throughout the cleaning and storage process.”

Grace Hospital opted for cabinets with a ‘pass through’ option, meaning they have two doors which can be opened from separate areas. “When our endoscopes are dirty, they’re in what we call a ‘dirty zone’ of our department. Our staff can open one door and put a freshly disinfected endoscope in. And then on the other side of the wall, the nurse in our ‘clean area’ can open the cabinet from the other side and take that camera out. It eliminates the movement of our staff in and out of a clean/dirty area.”

The Smartline Rotascope cabinets use the manufacturer’s cleaning adaptors to connect channels to a vacuum, maintaining each scope’s warranty and validity. Overall, Sarah says Grace Hospital is pleased to have upgraded their drying cabinets well ahead of the new EN16442 standard coming into force next year.

“We are quite happy with them and we’ve achieved significant cost savings in just a few months.”

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