What Are the Hidden Costs That Stem from Sterilizing Medical Equipment?

Operating a medical practice can be expensive, and basic costs can quickly add up. Any medical practice, even a gynecologist’s office, will have fixed expenses. These will likely include employee payroll, office rent, various insurances, medical technology, and medical equipment. Advanced medical practices will try to incorporate supplementary costs, like marketing, professional development, or industry memberships, to elevate operations. More specifically, gynecologists who struggle to improve bottom lines will turn to popular cost-saving alternatives, like reusable medical devices.

The reusable vaginal speculum is one medical device many doctors have used since the start of gynecology. Some physicians trust reusable speculums because they have been used for over 200 years. When reusable metal speculums were introduced, medicine was much less complex. Today, millions of novel factors have contributed to the way gynecology is practiced around the world. A gynecology practice that still sterilizes reusable medical devices may be spending more money than if the practice opted for single-use medical devices. In fact, advancements in technology have deemed reusable speculums inefficient and surprisingly costly to maintain.

The hidden costs of sterilization

Sterilizing medical equipment is not as simple as it seems. This time-consuming process requires manpower, proper training, and maintenance funds to complete. The medical practice will need to purchase an autoclave, purchase disinfectants, pay to train staff members, pay to test equipment, pay for bookkeeping, and pay for miscellaneous inventory. The cost breakdown of using reusable speculums can run up to tens of thousands of dollars annually.

Even with thorough sterilization procedures put in place, reusable medical devices are not immune to human error. Most speculums feature an intricate design with specific crevices, bolts, and openings. A vaginal speculum can easily hide biological debris within these areas. If reusable speculums are not sterilized properly before or after use, harmful pathogens are likely to transfer to another individual. Therefore, sterilization alone may not be enough to ensure the reusable speculum is completely free from cross-contamination. A victim of cross-contamination may want to take legal action against the medical practice at fault. Medical malpractice or personal injury lawsuits can potentially ruin a medical office or a gynecologist’s reputation. All in all, it can result in a financial loss or a loss of clients.

When it comes to practicing gynecology, time is money. Constantly sterilizing reusable speculums in between exams will increase overall wait times, decrease patient turnover, and contribute to a loss of total revenue. A medical practice cannot afford to use expensive resources in excess, especially when the practice can evolve and operate more efficiently.

How can you avoid these costs?

A disposable, chemiluminated speculum proves to be the most cost-effective speculum on the market today. Most standard speculums that provide illumination rely on batteries that can be expensive to replace. A disposable vaginal speculum that supports chemiluminescence has a lower cost-per-use than other devices with illumination.

The SpecuLume EZ, a single-use, plastic speculum with chemiluminescence, provides decreased costs to physicians, enhances patient comfort during a pelvic exam, minimizes health concerns for both the patient and the physician, and boasts a safe disposal process. This device, created by Cyalume Medical, is an affordable and safer alternative to a reusable vaginal speculum. Learn more about the benefits of the SpecuLume EZ by contacting Cyalume Medical. Cyalume Medical: Patient care in a new light.

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