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Archive April 2020 XXI, No. 4

Boost Your Endoscope Efficiency

Small improvements in colonoscopy screenings will help keep patients moving.

Beth Hogan



ON THE GAS Carbon dioxide insufflation helps patients recover quickly and in greater comfort than when insufflated with air.

High-volume GI facilities run on hard work and smart ideas, and our busy endoscopy center is no different. We're always considering new solutions to improve how quickly and safely we perform cases and reprocess our fleet of endoscopes. The method we use to insufflate colonoscopy patients is one of the most effective ways we've improved patient care, saved money and kept our center running like a well-oiled machine.

Save time, improve satisfaction

We knew that using carbon dioxide instead of air for insufflation provided a patient benefit, but during a 2017 trial we also discovered it offered a financial advantage. Carbon dioxide, with its ability to improve a colonoscopy screening's efficiency, also increased our patient satisfaction scores and the time savings we realized allowed us to pay for switching to gas within a year.

Despite it being fairly well known in the industry that using CO2 to insufflate colonoscopy patients improves their comfort, it's not yet the standard practice in all facilities. One factor contributing to this is its higher cost. In our facility, physicians were split among those who wanted to use CO2 and those who weren't sure if it was worth the added expense. That's why we conducted a trial to detail how CO2 insufflation impacted patient care and exactly how much extra it cost us to implement the practice.

To run the trial, we took one of our three procedure rooms and dedicated it as the CO2 room. Patients receiving colonoscopies in this room were given CO2 insufflation, while those in our other two rooms received air insufflation. Not only did this let us compare CO2 patients to our control group, but it also gave us a good idea of how many tanks we would go through per room, how long the tanks would run and what the major differences were in the systems we trialed.

When deciding which insufflator and tanks to use, we spoke with three manufacturers to determine which one would be the best one for the trial, and eventually, to use full time. One of the key factors was the cost of associated supplies. The necessary tubing can be reprocessed or disposable. We decided to go with a manufacturer that used reusable tubing because it would result in a major cost savings.

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