All surgical instruments must be cleaned, disinfected and sterilized before surgeries, but unfortunately, not all of them can be reprocessed for reuse after a surgery.
Complex structures, pulleys and very small shafts make some instruments very challenging to clean and examine for contamination, which has enhanced the use of disposables worldwide. However, current sustainability trends and medical device regulations are now promoting the use of reusable tools.
To better understand the value of cleanable and reusable surgical instruments, we had a chat with Harry Oussoren, an expert on sterile medical devices from Amsterdam University Medical Center at the AMC location. As a leader in his field, Harry is familiar with the current medical devices on the market and has experienced the challenges of reprocessing the emerging new-technology instruments. Fortunately for Surge-on Medical, he was involved in the cleaning studies of the Steerable Punch and thus played a crucial role in the creation of an instrument that is truly cleanable.
What are your roles with regard to surgical instrumentation?
Harry Oussoren: I am an expert on sterile medical devices at Amsterdam University Medical Center at the AMC location in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Part of the job in this position is that I am responsible for the quality of the process of cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of reusable medical devices.
What do you think are the biggest challenges involving reprocessing current surgical instruments?
Harry Oussoren: The biggest challenge in our field of work is the miniaturization of reusable medical devices, more specifically, of the lumens in instruments. This makes it harder to clean and check for cleanliness.
Why are cleanable and reusable instruments important or necessary nowadays?
Harry Oussoren: The safety of patients and of our co-workers makes it very important that the process of cleaning, disinfection and sterilization has been performed according to the standards and that the result is excellent. With these instruments, we can prevent cross-contamination.
What is your impression of the Steerable Punch, from a cleaning/reprocessing perspective?
Harry Oussoren: The Steerable Punch is an excellent example of how the industry and experts on sterile medical devices can and must work together. While designing the medical device to make sure that it works in a way that specialists can use this instrument to the benefit of their patients, we also looked at the design from the perspective of cleaning, disinfection and sterilization. In doing this, we performed some tests, and the results of these tests made it necessary to make some changes to the design to achieve a better outcome of the process. This design, whereby you can detach the instrument and check the results of the process, is – compared to the traditional design – safer for patients, in my opinion.
What motivates you to collaborate with innovations such as the Steerable Punch?
Harry Oussoren: The collaboration between hospitals and industry while designing new reusable medical devices is, in my opinion, KEY to prevent cross-contamination and therefore safer for the patient. It makes it possible to SHARE knowledge, PREVENT possible problems instead of trying to solve them afterwards.
Is there anything else you want to say about Surge-on Medical or about our products to the public?
Harry Oussoren: From what I have seen, the people working at Surge-on Medical are very dedicated to their work, are willing to listen to opinions and are very cooperative with only one goal in the back of their minds: Making sure that the product they are going to produce is for the benefit of the patients!
It is with the feedback and teamwork with experts on sterilization of medical devices like Harry Oussoren that Surge-on Medical is able to develop the tools that the market needs. By bringing them into the development process, we make sure to provide you with instruments that are proven to be cleanable and reusable, for the benefits of the patients and of the hospital’s staff.
(Updated on June 9th, 2020. Links to the funding page removed as funding successfully completed).