CDC warns of need for proper medical device handling

Published on
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

Following reports of lapses, federal health officials warned that health care facilities need to properly maintain, clean, and disinfect or sterilize reusable medical devices.

“Recent infection control lapses due to non-compliance with recommended reprocessing procedures highlight a critical gap in patient safety,” a notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states. “Healthcare facilities (e.g., hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, clinics, and doctors’ offices) that utilize reusable medical devices are urged to immediately review current reprocessing practices at their facility to ensure they (1) are complying with all steps as directed by the device manufacturers, and (2) have in place appropriate policies and procedures that are consistent with current standards and guidelines.”

The notice is available here.

Dr. Renée Funk, a deputy associate director in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that, although the alert was written for those in human health care, the same issues likely exist in veterinary health care.

She said the advisory followed multiple recent news reports about medical facilities notifying patients of potential exposures to infectious diseases. And she provided examples of news articles involving duodenoscopes, a cytoscope, dental equipment, and unspecified equipment used in outpatient procedures such as ear tube insertion and orthopedic surgeries.

The CDC is consulted on some of those situations but doesn’t have a comprehensive list of such events, she said.

The Health Alert Network notice, which was first distributed in September and updated in October, advocates that health care facilities review policies and procedures that protect patients, seek expert evaluation of their device reprocessing procedure, provide training to all who reprocess medical devices, audit adherence to procedures involving medical device reprocessing and storage, and allow adequate time for all recommended reprocessing steps.