What makes an ultrasonic surgical instrument cleaner a must-have for your ambulatory surgery center (ASC)? ASCs thrive on specialized care and lower costs. As of 2019, nearly 60 percent of all outpatient surgeries were performed in an ASC.¹ As the number of outpatient surgeries rises, so does the need for rapid, thorough, cost-effective cleaning of your instruments. Adding an ultrasonic cleaner can save you money, make your process more efficient, and reduce the chance of any patients getting a healthcare-associated infection (HAI).
Time-saving, efficient cleaning
Ultrasonic cleaners use high-frequency sound waves to create microscopic bubbles in an enzymatic cleaning solution. These bubbles implode, generating powerful scrubbing action that reaches into tiny crevices and removes contaminants like blood, tissue, and other debris from surgical instruments. Irrigation provides cavitation and flushing of lumen and robotic instruments. This loosens and washes away bioburden that might be hiding microbes, increasing the effectiveness of sterilization.
ASCs often have a high volume of surgical instruments that need to be cleaned and sterilized quickly to maintain a smooth workflow. Ultrasonic cleaners may reduce the time required for manual cleaning, allowing staff to focus on other critical tasks. Cleaning cycles are short—our ultrasonics have adjustable 8- and 13-minute cleaning cycles for lumen and nonlumen instruments, and can clean da Vinci robotic instruments in 15 minutes.
Ultrasonic cleaning provides a consistent and uniform cleaning process for all instruments, reducing the risk of human error associated with manual cleaning. This consistency helps ensure that all instruments are cleaned to the same standard in preparation for sterilization.
Infection control and improved patient safety
ASCs, like hospitals, must adhere to strict infection control protocols to protect patient safety. Since 2013, the US Department of Health and Human Services has included ASCs in its efforts to reduce the incidence of HAIs. The thorough cleaning delivered by an ultrasonic cleaner can remove bioburden and fine debris in hidden areas. This reduces the risk of HAIs and surgical site infections (SSIs), as well as surgical complications related to improperly cleaned instruments.
Like other medical facilities, ASCs are subject to a variety of regulations and accreditation requirements that mandate proper instrument cleaning and sterilization. Using an ultrasonic cleaner can help ASCs meet these standards and avoid compliance issues. Many surgical and robotic instrument manufacturers require or recommend the use of an ultrasonic cleaner in their instruments’ instructions for use (IFUs). Not following these IFUs can cause an ASC problems with regulators and The Joint Commission.
Prolonged instrument life
Proper cleaning and maintenance of surgical instruments are essential for extending their lifespan. Ultrasonic cleaners are gentle on instruments, reducing the pitting and corrosion that can occur with manual scrubbing or with the harsher chemicals and high-intensity spray often used in washer-disinfectors. This can lead to cost savings in the long run by reducing the need for frequent instrument replacements.
While there is an initial investment in purchasing an ultrasonic cleaner, the long-term cost savings, especially in terms of extended instrument life and reduced labor costs, can make it a cost-effective solution for ASCs.
Ultrasonic cleaning typically requires less water and cleaning chemicals compared to manual methods, and less harsh chemicals than other automated methods, making it an environmentally friendly choice.
An ultrasonic cleaner can be a game-changer for an ambulatory surgery center by improving efficiency, consistency, infection control, instrument longevity, and overall patient safety. It can also help ASCs comply with regulatory standards and reduce operational costs in the long run.
1. Fortune Business Insights, “U.S. Ambulatory Surgical Centers Market, 2021–2028,” Feb. 8, 2022, https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/02/08/2380549/0/en/US-Ambulatory-Surgical-Centers-Market-Size-2022-2028-to-Reach-USD-58-85-Billion-at-a-CAGR-of-6-9.html.