Why Recycle Single-Use Medical Devices
Healthcare facilities are becoming more concerned about reprocessing SUDs (devices intended for one use and use on a single patient during a single procedure). Studies have found a significant rate of physical defects, performance issues, or improper decontamination associated with reprocessing of SUDs.* According to the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, "The use of a reprocessed single-use device provides no direct benefit to an individual patient or her physician."
*"Reprocessed Single-Use Devices." The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Number 537, October 2012
- SUDs are not designed with reuse in mind.
- Reprocessing SUDs can increase potential for patient infection.
- Reprocessed SUDs are often disassembled and parts are exchanged, resulting in compromised functionality of the devices.
- Common materials used in SUDs are often a combination of metals and plastic, which is difficult to sterilize without causing changes to the materials. These changes may result in an inability to validate the devices for reuse.
Cost-savings and environmental concerns have led to the practice of single-use medical device reprocessing. However, with increased focus on patient-centered care and accountability, recycling is quickly becoming the preferred method of managing SUDs.