Another benefit of reposable instruments
is that the reusable handle and disposable
tips are procured directly from the OEM.
The OEM typically tests the components
multiple times to ensure quality before
releasing them into the marketplace. Furthermore, the components are covered
by the OEM’s warranty so if a healthcare
facility has an issue with the product they
know where to turn for help. Reprocessing negates the OEM’s warranty so
if there is an issue with the instrument,
including patient safety issues, the liability
falls to the hospital and its reprocessor.
Minimal Waste, Seamless Adoption
Reposable instruments generate less
waste than fully disposable products
because the hospital is reusing the handle
and discarding only the tips. When compared to reprocessed items, the disposal
process for reposable instrument tips is far
less complex. With reposables, the nurse
simply throws the tip into the sharps bin
as red bag waste, which is a familiar and
seamless adoption process. For reprocessed items, the OR staff needs to be
trained on how to dispose of these items
in the reprocessor’s bin. This bin also
takes up valuable space in the OR.
Increased Surgeon Satisfaction
The OR is the revenue-generating hub of
any healthcare organization. Even though
surgeons are no longer the sole decision
makers when it comes to instrumentation,
materials managers, OR directors, and surgery directors must take into account surgeon satisfaction when selecting products.
Quality: Reposable Instruments Are
Not All the Same
While there are clear benefits to reposable laparoscopic surgical instruments,
not all reposables on the market today are
the same. Quality and functionality vary
from manufacturer to manufacturer. Even
if a device is reposable, if it is poor quality
it will not deliver clinical or financial
value. Like any product, when you buy
a cheaper alternative it comes with the
expectation that it might not work as well
compared to the product that is priced a
little higher – you get what you pay for.
Below are some important considerations when designing a reposable
laparoscopic instrument system.
With a quality reposable handpiece, the
surgeon can actually feel what he/she
is grasping, cutting and dissecting – this
improves precision, performance and
ultimately can improve patient outcomes.
Furthermore, an ergonomic design is easy
to use and prevents surgeon hand cramp-ing/fatigue during procedures.
Another consideration is how the
disposable tip attaches to the reusable
handle. With inferior products, there
is not a secure fit between the handle
and the tip. Some use a ball and clevis
approach, which creates a delay in the
surgeon’s hand when he/she maneuvers
the instrument. This is a critical issue
in laparoscopic procedures where the
surgeon does not have an open view into
the patient’s body.
Chose a design that ensures the tip
attaches securely to the handle. For example, co-axial threading on both the handle
and tip ensure a tight connection and precise alignment, providing surgeons with
the ability to feel small, tight movements
when they are grasping and cutting.
Reliability and Durability
With a reposable laparoscopic instrument,
the reusable handle is processed through
the hospital’s CS/SPD after use. There-
fore, it must be made to withstand the
rigors of decontamination, cleaning and
sterilization. Ensure the handle is made of
a durable material designed for this type
As for the tips, if a surgeon must use
more than one scissor tip during a procedure because it is poorly manufactured
and doesn’t stand up to use, the hospital’s
costs and wastes increase. Also switching
out a scissor tip during a surgery increases
procedural time and adds complexity to
the case. Having a quality tip for each
procedure that can withstand intended
use cuts down on costs, reduces waste
and streamlines procedures.
Healthcare today is all about delivering
high quality patient care at an affordable
cost, as evidenced by the shift to pay for
performance, value-based purchasing and
other tenets of the Affordable Care Act.
Healthcare organizations and increasingly
being judged on – and reimbursed according to – the value they deliver, which
means balancing quality and cost.
Being both high quality and cost-effective, reposable laparoscopic instrumentation is emerging as an ideal solution to
conventional technology – meeting both
the clinical needs of the OR and financial
needs of healthcare organizations today
and well into the future. MDT
Terry Belluche is a medical device
leader with over 20 years of experience
in medical device design, development
manufacturing and Marketing. He is the
marketing leader at Microline Surgical.