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Endoscopic sheath helps cut down on spread of bacterial infections

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The spread of new antibiotic resistant “superbug” infections not only puts patients and staff in increasing danger, but is causing a “perfect storm” for many hospitals who are now facing increasingly stringent financial penalties under the Affordable Care Act, including patient re-admissions and follow-up diagnostics due to infections acquired during initial stays. In addition, these infections may not be covered by insurance companies for reimbursement depending on the hospital's history as well as additional issues.

"When a breach in the sterile technique for conventional endoscopes is discovered, all routine endoscopies are cancelled and patients that received endoscopic procedures are notified, tested, and treated if need be," says Dr. Daniel R. Cottam, M.D., of the Bariatric Medicine Institute. "It's a process that can close an endoscopic unit for several weeks, and can severely interfere with the facility’s ability to provide patients with everyday healthcare. It can also cause patients to lose confidence in all areas of the hospital, “ he continued.

To help combat this, Vision-Sciences Inc. has developed new its new EndoSheath Technology in which an endoscope is inserted into a new, disposable sterile sheath for each procedure. Once the exam is completed, the sheath is thrown out guarding against the use of a dirty endoscope that could spread bacterial or viral cross-contamination to the next patient, even after going through “High Level Disinfection,” described as a “complicated 27-step, 45-minute disinfection process that relied on zero human error to ensure a patient-ready device.”

Note: The CDC endorsed FDA approval of EndoSheath Technology back in July 2013.

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