When it comes to deciding between single use and reusable medical devices, registrants need to make informed decisions and consider the pros and cons of each.
A medical device refers to any instrument or piece of equipment used in any practice setting to assess, monitor, diagnose and treat patients. Medical devices are often available both as single-use and reusable items.
Single-use medical devices are designed to be used on one patient for a single procedure and immediately discarded. Reusable medical devices may be safely reused only after appropriate steps identified by the manufacturer instructions have been undertaken (e.g. cleaning, disinfection, sterilization).
The table below highlights key considerations to assist in making informed decisions regarding the medical devices and the potential risk to patient safety.
Table 1: Considerations for selection of single-use and reusable medical devices
|Consideration||Single-use medical devices||Reusable|
|Risk of infection||None||Possible|
|Waste production||Increase in solid waste|
|Available choices||May be a limitation||More choices|
|Product durability||May be a limitation|
|Reprocessing HR requirements||Not required||Required|
|Reprocessing education and training||Not required||Required|
|Reprocessing process requirements||Not required|
Process requirements are:
|Reprocessing physical space||Not required||Required|
|Repairs and replacement parts||Not required||Required|
For additional information, see the BC Ministry of Health’s Best Practice Guidelines for Cleaning, Disinfection and Sterilization of Critical and Semi-critical Medical Devices (2011).