Since the start of standardized women’s healthcare, clinicians have relied on reusable speculums to facilitate vaginal examinations. Reusable speculums are typically made of a sturdy material, like metal or surgical steel. Benefits to using reusable speculums include a reduced environmental impact and reduced material costs. Although these medical devices are still used by some women’s health practices and clinicians, there are concerns as to how effective reusable speculums actually are. Here are a few reasons why your medical practice should consider eliminating reusable speculums from its inventory.
Reusable speculums silently promote cross-contamination.
Cross-contamination can compromise the safety of a medical practice by spreading through a number of different routes. These may include physical contact, airborne spread, respiratory droplet transmission, or transmission by physical objects. That being said, reusable speculums have the potential to expose patients and clinicians to cross-contamination. A reusable speculum’s intricate design features unique crevices, bolts, and openings. Biological debris can easily hide within these areas after just one use. If these medical devices are not sterilized properly before or after use, harmful contaminants can transfer to another individual. Sterilization alone may not be enough to ensure a reusable speculum will not contribute to local cross-contamination.
Reusable speculums are costly to replace.
A standard reusable speculum has a recommended lifespan of five years. Hundreds of uses on hundreds of patients will cause the medical device to depreciate over time. The metal or surgical steel will be vulnerable to rusting, staining, and natural corrosion. These changes can affect regular sterilization processes, ultimately compromising the safety of patients and clinicians.
If a reusable speculum is misplaced, it may be expensive to replace depending on its make and model. For example, a reusable speculum may be lost from one day to the next. If substitute speculums are not handy, a rush shipment of reusable speculums may be difficult to secure. Do not forget about costs. The speedy replacement of a reusable speculum will be much more expensive to execute in comparison to the replacement of plastic speculums.
Reusable speculums take time to maintain.
The sterilization processes necessary to decontaminate reusable speculums can be time consuming and expensive to perform. Medical facilities practicing women’s health need to decide if they want to allocate valuable time to additional procedures that preserve reusable tools. Essentially, women’s health professionals could be spending that time cultivating one-on-one relationships with patients and contributing to increased patient turnover.
The SpecuLume EZ is a safer and more efficient alternative to a reusable speculum. It reduces risks of cross-contamination or infection and is easily disposable after one use. Its patient-safe light source, a chemiluminescent light insert, emits a convenient no-heat glow for up to 15 minutes. Cyalume Medical’s SpecuLume EZ requires no disassembly or deactivation. Simply toss the entire device along with the light insert into a clinical waste container after one use.
Have you started to incorporate single-use devices into your medical practice’s inventory? It is never too late to begin using the SpecuLume EZ. For more information regarding the disposable SpecuLume EZ, contact the women’s health experts at Cyalume Medical.