Evaluation of Your Endoscope's Environment: Outcome-Oriented Process Improvement

Evaluation of Your Endoscope’s Environment: Outcome-Oriented Process Improvement

Introduction

Flexible endoscopes have been in use since the late 1960s and the number and types of procedures performed with them increase each year. The basic design and concept of the endoscope remains static, but technical advancements continue to grow. Typical changes in endoscope technology relate to size of scopes, size of operating channels, imaging capabilities, light transmission, and ergonomics.  Advancements have also been made in methods, chemicals, and equipment designed to effectively clean and reprocess the endoscope.         

Ubiquitous information and guidelines have been published on keeping up with endoscope reprocessing technology. While mentioning these concepts, the focus of this module is to highlight common areas and activities within the endoscopy setting that may negatively impact the health and function of your expensive endoscope inventory. By objectively reviewing your facility and implementing the best practices for care and handling of flexible endoscopes, their continued function without malfunction, as well as their lifespan, will increase significantly. All endoscopy departments have a primary dictum to deliver safe patient care outcomes from well-maintained endoscopes; this can only result from employee consciousness and compliance.   

The life expectancy of endoscopes varies greatly depending on care and handling practices within each facility. Proper care and handling starts with an understanding of endoscope construction, and recognizing what can damage it. If the actions, environment and people that contribute to unnecessary wear can be identified, then instituting a plan to minimize scope damage will increase efficiency.

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