Reasons to switch to single-use medical devices and disposable medical supplies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration define single-use, or disposable, medical devices as those strictly intended for use on one patient during only one procedure. Using sterile, single-use medical supplies is an effective option for ensuring all devices are decontaminated. They can protect patients from developing life-threatening infections from cross-contamination or unsafe conditions during medical procedures and treatment regimens.

When health care facilities switch from reusable to single-use medical devices, the benefits extend beyond protecting patients from health care-associated infections (HAIs). Here are the top reasons to the increasing use of single-use devices:

Improve Patient Safety and Quality of Care

CDC is in high gear to eliminate the avoidable HAIs, which increases the need for safe and cost-effective devices. According to the CDC’s National and State Healthcare Associated Infections Progress Report, updated in 2016, rates of HAIs were decreased more than 70 percent when health care facilities and professionals were attuned to infection issues and actively implement procedures to prevent them. 

The most effective method of reducing rates of HAIs is the use of single-use medical devices. Single-use medical devices reduce the risk of HAIs, including common surgical site infections, and cross-contamination during medical procedures. With reduced risk of cross-contamination and increased infection control, single-use devices are most sought after method to improve overall patient safety and quality of care.

Increase Efficiency and Alleviate Responsibility

Single-use disposable devices not only are ready for immediate use, they also provide time saving and relief for healthcare providers over responsibility of cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing instruments through extensive reprocessing cycles. On top of that, these devices are traceable and compatible with most tracking and inventory management systems. The use of these devices minimizes mishaps in pre- and post-medical procedures, thus increasing overall staff and facility effectiveness and efficiency.

Cut Down on Costs

Though the upfront price of disposable supplies may be higher than reusable ones, the long-term benefits are paramount especially when it comes to patient safety. The potential savings on reusable tools can be offset by expenses associated with cross-contamination and infection complications. Single-use devices eliminate the ongoing costs of reprocessing and upkeeping.

Reduce Environmental Impact

According to Practice Greenhealth’s Sustainability Report, hospitals in the U.S. create more than 4.67 million tons of waste in average every year. Based on the report, reusable devices contributed far more to this estimate than disposable devices. The disinfecting solutions and utilities used for reprocessing reusable devices resulted in a much higher environmental impact. 

Though there is a place for reusable devices in medical practice and healthcare, the adoption in using single-use medical devices and disposable medical supplies will continue to increase as newer, efficient technological breakthroughs in manufacturing and production contribute to the production of higher quality instruments at even lower costs.