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Reusable Supplies & Equipment at Healthcare Facilities

Switching from single-use to reusable supplies and equipment can substantially reduce your facility’s long-term purchasing and waste removal costs. Using reusable linens, gowns, delivery totes, sterile trays, and sharps containers, or reprocessing and reusing single-use devices for medical and surgical procedures are a just a few examples of ways that healthcare facilities across the country have taken steps to reduce their bottom line.

Prior to making a switch, a value analysis should be done to determine if there are any patient-safety, legal, or contractual labor issues that may arise. Product testing will help determine whether the new product contains the same quality, safety, and durability as the single-use item targeted for replacement. Educating medical and maintenance personnel prior to any switch in product use can provide valuable insight to the purchaser, as well as make the transition to the new product smoother.

Other issues to consider when doing a value analysis to determine if reusables will be beneficial include:

  • cleaning (labor, energy, water, etc.), reprocessing, and distribution costs
  • additional space requirements for reprocessing and storage
  • life span of a reusable
  • any increase in staff time to carry out the same task
  • infection control
  • patient perception of cleanliness and sterility
  • regulatory constraints

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