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Archive February 2021 XXII, No. 2

How to Handle the Colonoscopy Surge

Double down on sound endoscope reprocessing to provide safe and efficient care during even your busiest days.

Casey Czarnowski

Casey Czarnowski, BA, CRCST, CSPDT, CIS, CER


IN TRANSIT Plastic containers with high sidewalls protect expensive and fragile endoscopes.

This is a hectic time to run a GI center, isn't it? As you keep pace with newly scheduled colonoscopies and work through a backlog of postponed procedures, know the stakes are high for managing and maintaining a full schedule of screenings. In October 2020, the surgery center management firm AMSURG reported 200,000 of its patients had missed their scheduled colonoscopies since the start of the pandemic. That's alarming when you consider about 850 out of every 200,000 colonoscopy patients get diagnosed with colon cancer.

To keep cases moving through your facility in order to give more patients access to potentially life-saving care, reemphasize proper endoscope handling techniques, tap into advances in reprocessing technologies and rely on a properly trained staff. Running an efficient center has never been more important.

Standard rules apply

The six basic steps of scope reprocessing — point-of-use pre-cleaning, careful transport, leak testing, manual cleaning and flushing, disinfection and sterilization, and careful storage — should apply, no matter how busy your facility gets. Now certainly isn't the time to cut corners or take shortcuts to respond to increased caseloads. Changing or modifying any of these essential steps to proper endoscope care will do more harm than good.

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