A growing demand for sustainability strategies is evident in the U.S. healthcare ecosystem, according to a September 2017 survey from Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies (JJMDC). The survey of 92 executives and clinicians at large U.S. health systems found that nine out of 10 clinicians and health system executives agree that sustainability provides long-term cost savings. The majority also agree that sustainability provides additional benefits, such as protecting the environment (76 percent), improving patient care (73 percent), and increasing the ability to manage risk and regulatory performance (68 percent). Nearly all (95 percent) believe that environmental sustainability contributes to the value of care delivered in their health system.
More hospitals are discovering that reprocessing single-use devices (SUDs), or disposable devices, is often an affordable method for environmental sustainability and resource conservation—without compromising healthcare outcomes or patient safety. SUD reprocessing methods must meet the FDA’s 510(k) approval process, and hospitals that use such devices are finding clinical outcomes and patient benefits equivalent to that of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Why It’s Safe
Hospital-based reprocessing handles instruments and reusable devices, which undergo meticulous cleaning, inspection, packaging and sterilization.
Third-party reprocessing providers handle disposable devices and perform under strict FDA oversight.
“SUD reprocessing is inherently different than in-house reprocessing,” explains Bill Scott, senior marketing director for Stryker’s Sustainability Solutions division. “There are different regulatory requirements for each device.”
Hospitals that use SUD reprocessing send their devices to a third-party reprocessing supplier where devices are received, sorted, cleaned and inspected. Each one is individually tested, packaged and sterilized before the product is released for buy-back to the hospital.
“Our devices have been inspected multiple times at our plant and run through terminal sterilization just like the new product,” says Frank Czajka, president of Medline ReNewal.
“We test every device we work on,” Czajka says. “That’s in contrast to a typical production run where an OEM tests between 1 percent and 4 percent of its new products,” he says. “Each of our devices is inspected between eight and 10 times before it leaves our plant for use at a facility.”
JJMDC recently announced its Care-Advantage Sustainability capability, which includes reprocessing through Sterilmed, across a broad spectrum of categories to include both JJMDC as well as non-JJMDC reprocessed single-use devices.
“We can provide health systems with a broad portfolio of sustainably sourced medical devices to help them meet their commitment to environmental stewardship efficiently and cost effectively,” says Melinda Thiel, vice president, customer marketing and solutions at JJMDC.
“In addition to cost savings, reprocessing SUDs diverts medical devices from landfills. Sterilmed collects and ships devices at no cost to the facility, reducing operating room waste isposal costs by up to 70 percent. with your national account representatives about best practices for starting a reprocessing program, setting program goals and ongoing tracking. Request annual business reviews to Monitor progress and identify additional savings opportunities.”
—Kathy Demaray, HealthTrust vice president of GPO Operations and the Supply Chain Board