Flexible endoscopes present a unique challenge for hospitals to track and manage – these expensive medical instruments must be quickly re-processed after usage in order to provide the required instrumentation for the next procedure, yet they must undergo rigorous, time-consuming reprocessing after every use to ensure the highest levels of patient safety.
Due to different employees having opposing priorities, hospitals and surgery centers often have inconsistent processes around endoscope management. Many sites have no accountability for their endoscopes at all, not even a basic “sign-in/sign-out” log book. Others have a manual or even nonexistent system for documenting the steps of the reprocessing cycle in between uses. These poor documentation practices lead to headaches for managers who are in charge of making sure that scopes are readily available and disinfected at all times.
At Mobile Aspects, we have built our iRIScope endoscope tracking software and smart cabinets to help capture all of the documentation around endoscope reprocessing. We have built RFID technology into our solution to make all data available electronically in real-time with minimal human interaction. Along with the significant regulatory benefit of having electronic documentation for groups such as The Joint Commission, the system offers additional benefits such as patient safety alerts and operational efficiency data.
How One Hospital Avoided Disaster
Because iRIScope captures reprocessing and usage data electronically, it is able to analyze the data in real-time to help avert patient safety issues. One of our customers recently had a patient safety alert triggered by iRIScope software that helped them avoid using a potentially contaminated scope on a patient.
During a typical, busy day in the Endoscopy department, a sterile processing department (SPD) tech was in the middle of taking care of an endoscope-related issue and temporarily placed an unwashed scope in the clean elevator, intending to gather it in a minute. Around that same time, another employee placed a set of clean scopes in the same elevator and all scopes, including the scope that was not reprocessed, were stocked into an iRIScope endoscope storage cabinet. As designed, the iRIScope cabinet locked down and sent an automated email alert to department administrators. Because iRIScope correctly identified an unclean scope stored in a cabinet with properly disinfected scopes, the department was able to act immediately. Within minutes, all 8 scopes were removed from the locked down cabinet and sent to SPD for reprocessing again. This removed any chance that the unclean scope would be used on a patient.
Why Scope Tracking Software Changes The Game For Endoscopy and ORs
Systems such as iRIScope from Mobile Aspects have been introduced in the last several years to automate the documentation of the entire endoscope usage lifecycle. These systems automatically record all of the usage and reprocessing activity associated with each flexible endoscope to create an all-electronic audit trail. As discussed above, this audit trail provides numerous benefits to your Endoscopy practice in the areas of regulatory compliance, patient safety and operational efficiency. For busy Endoscopy departments and Operating Rooms that can go through dozens of endoscopes per day, having a software system that can keep an eye on scope safety and efficiency can be a huge benefit to department administrators.
No more log books, no more printed tickets from your endoscope reprocessor and no more paper tags – just electronic documentation that makes your department more effective and more efficient. When Joint Commission comes knocking, blow them away with your ability to trace all of your endoscope-related transactions instantaneously in an electronic format. When a physician asks for that new scope, verify with data how necessary that new scope really is. And when steps in the reprocessing cycle are missed, make sure patient safety stays priority #1 by having the system alert administrators about possible cross-contamination issues.