Scope Documentation Lacking? This Technology Can Help

Over the last several years, endoscope-related outbreaks from around the US and the world have led to increased oversight of the endoscope high-level disinfection (HLD) process at many hospitals. Many hospitals are now finding themselves in a struggle to oversee the HLD process at their facilities without introducing too much oversight and intervention into the process due to resource constraints.

The simple solution that many facilities have introduced is to increase surveillance or sampling of their employees to make sure they are following standard protocols while being observed. But what happens when no one is watching? Do you trust that all of your employees, when no one is looking over their shoulder, will reprocess scopes properly and never skip any steps? Most facilities still have staff go through their HLD routines based on memorization, but recent technology products have been introduced in recent years to ensure staff follow the same process each and every time – even when no one is watching.

One such product is iRIScope from Mobile Aspects. The way that iRIScope and other systems like it work is to walk staff through the HLD process for each scope in a workflow that matches the hospital’s existing standard operating procedures. By using a combination of RFID technology and touchscreen kiosks, staff are guided through the HLD process and are required to log all steps as completed before they can move on to the next step. If a step is missed, a reminder to complete that step is displayed and the missed step is logged in the system. This ensures that no scopes are skipping any of the key steps in the HLD process. It also allows managers to properly train their employees by highlighting the employees that are most prone to skipping steps. Using this data helps managers train up their staff efficiently based on analytics coming out of the system, rather than observations noticed while sampling.

Additionally, these systems increase the quality of the documentation surrounding the use of endoscopes in hospitals. In addition to a complete record of all steps completed for every scope during reprocessing, the system also ensures that there is a record of each scope used on each patient for safety and compliance purposes. Having a centralized repository of this information, rather than having to check separate systems like the EMR, AER or surgical instrument tracking software, can be a life-saver when The Joint Commission visits or in case of an infection control issue.

The infection risk with flexible endoscopes continues to be a major worry for hospitals. Facilities must ensure that staff are trained on general infection control principles and must adhere to reprocessing best practices. To ensure that your staff is following reprocessing best practices on every scope they disinfect, investigate the use of software systems such as iRIScope. These systems help hospitals and surgery centers ensure that each of their flexible endoscopes is reprocessed the proper way each time, and any breaches of protocol are logged and immediately addressed. Documentation is also greatly improved by having a permanent record of all steps of the endoscope lifecycle, from procedure, to reprocessing and back to clean storage.