Read the label carefully! More on single-use medical devices

Manufacturers make many assertions about their products in an attempt to reach the widest possible markets. Physicians may get information about the product from company representatives or the product packaging. More often than not, the clearest information can be found on the manufacturer’s website. In this particular case, further research on the company’s website revealed that the device was, in fact, solely single-use.  

In any instance where there is ambiguity about the reusability of a product or device, the College recommends following the most conservative approach. Where literature indicates that the item is both single-use and reusable, physicians should assume that the device is single-use only. This approach is consistent with the BC Ministry of Health’s Best Practice Guidelines for Cleaning, Disinfection and Sterilization of Critical and Semi-critical Medical Devices (2011). 

Registrants should be aware of the following key points:

Manufacturers may use different terms to describe the reusability of their products, including several ways of referring to single-use items (see below). Registrants using such products should become familiar with such language and handle them accordingly.  

Items displaying the symbol are always single-use only and cannot be reprocessed. 

Take a conservative approach. Any indication of “single-use,” however phrased, trumps any other directions from the manufacturer. 

Common terms for single-use medical devices:

  • disposable
  • consumable
  • not for reuse
  • do not reuse
  • discard after single use
  • do not use twice

Common symbol for single-use medical devices:

More information on the Physician Practice Enhancement Program can be found on the College website.