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Transparency in reprocessing: A healthcare provider’s checklist

February 27, 2024
Business Affairs
Lars Thording
This article is the first in a three-part series, looking at the evolution of the reprocessing industry, and empowering providers who are learning to navigate it.

By Lars Thording

In recent decades, single-use device reprocessing has become standard in hospitals across the country as a valuable tool in reducing the cost and environmental footprint of patient care. Today, the market is surging with new entrants, which is fantastic news when it comes to keeping the industry vibrant and competitive. But it also represents a moment of vulnerability in which a lack of diligence could erode the hard-won reputation of reprocessed products.

As new reprocessors enter the market, they must be held to the high standards that have been established in the industry, including robust transparency. Let’s take a look at the questions hospitals should be asking to ensure their partners are providing the transparency needed to maintain an efficient and successful reprocessing program.

Respect for hospital schedules, practices, and policies
Every hospital is unique in terms of how the rooms are operated, who plays what role, how supplies are stored, how supplies are purchased, and more. More specifically, device acquisition, storage, utilization, and collection follow unique paths that the reprocessing company needs to respect. This means ensuring that reprocessing follows smoothly along those same paths. The hospital should expect that purchasing can seamlessly integrate the purchase of reprocessed devices without having to establish new routines or otherwise fit into the reprocessor’s preferred way of doing business.

Similarly, the reprocessor should provide products in packaging that mimics the original manufacturer’s packaging, and product labeling should make it easy to select and obtain the reprocessed devices. If the hospital has specific inventory management systems in place, the reprocessor should fit seamlessly into these.

The same principles should guide the collection of used devices at the hospital. Collections should take place according to what is most practical for the hospital in terms of days and times. The primary consideration here is that hospitals are incredibly busy, and the reprocessor should not add to this by having their collection technologists show up when it is inconvenient. Hospitals should expect that collections always take place on the same day, at the same time, so the staff can be prepared.

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