UltraZonic: Unique Technology that Cleans the Most Delicate GI Instruments
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Nancy Steenbakkers, Nursie
Due to their risk of infection and disease transmission, flexible endoscopes used in sterile body cavities are considered as critical devices based on the Spaulding classification system. This requires them to be sterilized after every procedure; but material compositions of most flexible endoscopes hamper them with thorough sterilization. Although they tolerate ethylene oxide and hydrogen peroxide plasma sterilization, this method is expensive and is not preferred by most healthcare facilities. And even with the advances in high-level disinfection and sterilisation techniques, the number of incidents of Healthcare- Associated Infections (HAIs) has remained at a perilously high level, which poses dire consequences to healthcare and the economy. This is mainly due to the improper implementation of pre-cleaning processes, or its lack thereof. Pre-cleaning is an integral part of the instrument processing procedure that is often overlooked. It is also essential to prevent the growth of biofilm and bioburden on patient care medical devices.
Despite its evident importance, many practitioners forgo pre-cleaning procedures altogether due to time constraints and inefficient cleaning processes. There is also an evident informational gap among healthcare workers regarding the appropriate cleaning of GI endoscopic devices. Nancy Steenbakkers—a nurse with over two decades’ worth of experience— observed that a vast majority of hospitals paid little heed to the efficacy of pre-cleaning their instruments. In an effort to tackle this grave, albeit neglected issue, Nancy founded UltraZonic, a hi-tech R&D and manufacturing company specialised in infection control technologies. The core principles of the organisation centre on providing best-in-class solutions that facilitate precise and efficient cleaning of surgical instruments and endoscopes. Moreover, the organization works to raise awareness and educate workers on the basics of cleaning. It regularly organizes patient safety academies for nurses, CSSD staff, and more.
“Even in 2020, clinicians and hospital workers only brush their instruments before moving them into the disinfectors,” says Nancy. This manual method is not only time consuming but is also equally ineffective. Additionally, continual brushing of instruments can damage them in the long run, leading to unnecessary expenditure by purchasing new equipment and also contributing to the already alarming issue of global waste generation.
Our main objective is to vastly improve patient safety
As infection control specialists, UltraZonic has manufactured automated machine—known as MED—that use ultrasonic waves to reduce the time needed for pre-cleaning from 10 minutes down to a minimal 3 minutes. The devices are compact and easy-to-use, saving valuable floor space and not requiring any manual intervention or supervision. The company’s ultrasonic cleaning can be used for a wide range of instrument shapes, sizes, and materials, and does not require parts to be disassembled before cleaning. With specially designed connections for lumen and Da Vinci instruments, even the most delicate device can be thoroughly yet safely cleaned. Operators can also modulate the wavelengths of the ultrasound, depending on the material being cleaned.
Cleaning endoscopes, however, requires more care and precision than other medical instruments. To this end, UltraZonic has devised Endo, the only device worldwide, which can pre-clean flexible endoscopes semi-automatically. Thoroughly cleaning these instruments without compromising on their quality requires expert engineering skills and craftsmanship.
Even though the technology is highly advanced, virtually no employee training is required to operate it and remove biofilm buildups even in intricate but critical parts of medical instruments. UltraZonic’s tools use innovative technology, a specially formulated environment, and user-friendly disinfectants to seek out and remove even difficult-to-reach contaminants. “We have invested substantial efforts into understanding the safest chemicals to use such that risk is minimised to both the user and their surroundings,” Nancy adds.
Every device is also controlled by an SQL-based database that traces and tracks its usage and ensures that contemporary cleaning demands are met. Users can check leakage test reports, water temperature, time for cleaning, and much more via a simple control panel. The device also has an integrated camera that records the only manual step: brushing the working channels. Since all actions are recorded and can be reviewed later, workers cannot skip any pre-cleaning step, thereby assuring patient safety. “Our main objective is to vastly improve patient safety,” states Nancy. Escalating patient safety and tackling contamination issues requires continual, persistent action. Observing that a lot of medical institutes still suffer from the lack of proper safety procedures, Nancy and the team at UltraZonic have even partnered with universities and hospitals to create new and improved versions of the organisation’s pre-cleaning technology. Moreover, the company also provides remote after-sales support to its consumers. With clients in Saudi Arabia and Taiwan, UltraZonic’s technicians can quickly log onto the machines and guide the user to solve the issue. As innovation runs through the company’s blood, UltraZonic strives to tackle current bedside-cleaning issues and a major step in that direction is the third innovation that it is bringing to the market.
Description Ever since its inception, UltraZonic’s core mission has been to eliminate all contamination risks which are so ubiquitous in today’s hospitals. Given the complex nature of medical instruments, thoroughly cleaning them without compromising them in any way requires fine engineering skills and craftsmanship. ‘Endo’ for instance is the only device world-wide which can pre-clean flexible endoscopes semi-automatically. The powerful ‘Med’ ultrasonic device on the other hand comes with a fully automated process per kind of instrument, rendering existent ultrasonic devices insignificant. All this results in flawlessly cleaned instruments, which on top of that benefit from a prolonged operating life
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