In today’s age, cross-contamination is still a very real concern for gynecologists. Physicians are trained to protect patients and fellow staff members from the harmful effects of cross-contamination. These effects, brought on by microorganisms, can compromise the safety of the practice by spreading through a number of different routes, including physical contact, airborne spread, respiratory droplet transmission, or physical objects as common vehicles. Although a medical practice needs to do everything in its power to steer clear of cross-contamination, this transfer of unhealthy bacteria can still surface in a gynecologist’s office.
Where can cross-contamination potentially be found in a gynecologist’s office?
Physicians use a variety of medical equipment to maintain day-to-day activities, perform examinations, and analyze data. Certain equipment is vital to properly practicing gynecology. This equipment may include fetal monitors, exam lights, or medical furniture. Throughout the day, patients and staff members will make contact with this equipment. If they are not routinely washing their hands, bacteria can easily transfer to the small crevices of the medical equipment.
Staff members are constantly passing medical documents, like charts and records, around the office. Pathogens can be spread through the documentation being circulated, increasing the risk of infections. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, research examining contamination in hospital settings showed, “Ninety percent of charts in the surgical ICU and 72.2% in the surgical ward were contaminated with pathogenic or potentially pathogenic bacteria.”
Reusable medical devices
Reusable medical devices are medical instruments used when diagnosing multiple patients. The tools may include forceps, endoscopes, stethoscopes, and speculums. These instruments undergo a specific cleaning and sterilizing process before they are used by the following patient. As soon a reusable tool is used on a patient, it becomes contaminated with microorganisms. When a reusable tool is not cleaned properly, it can result in the retention of blood and tissue on the device. This causes the transmission of infectious diseases between patients, leading to illness or even death.
Gynecologist offices need to do everything possible to ensure the practice avoids harmful cross-contamination. To achieve that goal, medical practitioners can invest in single-use, disposable speculums.
The risk of cross-contamination at a gynecologist’s office is significantly reduced by single-use, disposable speculums. Disposable speculums come pre-sterilized, so onsite team members do not have to worry about completing routine sterilization processes. Physicians will use the speculum once on a single patient. Once used, they can safely dispose of the recyclable device. Physicians can be sure this disposable medical device will be the least risk-averse option available.
Cyalume Medical’s SpecuLume EZ is a single-use, illuminated vaginal speculum that is a safer alternative to reusable speculums. For more information about the benefits of the SpecuLume EZ, contact Cyalume Medical. Cyalume Medical: Patient care in a new light.