4 insights on manual vs. automated endoscope disinfection from a sterile processing manager

Endoscope cleaning and disinfecting is a complicated and often costly process, said Sunny Vestal, the regional manager of sterile processing services at Temple, Texas-based Scott & White Medical Center. To shed light on new and more cost effective cleaning processes, Mr. Vestal shared his insights with Infection Control Today.

Here are four key details to know:

1. Due to the possibility of human error in the manual high-level endoscope disinfection process, many healthcare providers are beginning to use automated endoscope reprocessors instead, Mr. Vestal said.

2. Using AERs reduces the risk for cross contamination, protects staff from exposing themselves to harsh chemicals and ensures all steps in the cleaning and disinfection process are met. Some AERs can cut out all of the manual reprocessing steps, Mr. Vestal said.

3. AERs may cost more upfront, but eventually they offset the number of hours spent reprocessing. More endoscopes will be able to be processed through using an AER compared to the traditional manual high-level disinfection process.

4. By switching to an AER, practices can be better aligned with patient safety measures, Mr. Vestal said. AERs clean endoscopes better than manual disinfection methods, he said, citing a study where microbes were found on endoscopes after manual disinfection.

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