When using reusable surgical instruments, healthcare providers know the critical nature of ensuring that these instruments are well disinfected and sterilized for use, this process is not a standardized one world-wide while standard-developing organizations have established industry-recognized standards for reprocessing.
Despite all of the efforts made towards standardizing this process; service providers and manufactures have created new tools, while professional organizations have published recommendations for various aspects of reprocessing of reusable instruments, sterility still remains a challenge.
In order to guarantee 100 percent sterility for each patient, sterile, single-use instruments must be used. This has necessitated the gradual shift from reusable instruments to disposable single-use ones with the primary motivations being the convenience of use and safety of the patients.
Instruments like endoscopic and laparoscopic ones have sophisticated parts that are difficult to clean and sometimes even after duly following the instructions of the manufacturer’s, it is not uncommon to find microscopic human remains lodged in these devices.
However, on the surface people might think that single-use instruments cost more due to their nature of being disposed, but resuables end up being more expensive in the long run because of the hidden costs involved.
A reusable pair of scissors may cost x amount of money. Reprocessing each of the scissors in a pack will cost the hospital x amount of money. Add that to the costs of transportation to the autoclave facility, the items needed for disinfection and the people that will be involved in all the processes. After a certain number of uses, the scissors will need re-sharpening which is yet another cost. On the other hand, a single-use disposable pair of scissors may cost x amount of money, and the only other cost incurred may be medical evacuation.