Q&A: Endoscope Tracking Needs to be Modernized

Too often the tracking of the use and disinfection is done with pen and paper. That's what leads to problems, says Michael Cousin.

In a recent interview with Infection Control Today®, Linda Spaulding, RN, BC, CIC, CHEC, CHOP, argued that infection preventionists need to get more involved in the endoscope cleaning process. Spaulding, a member of ICT®’s Editorial Advisory Board, says that she’s “gone in to do accreditation for hospitals where they didn’t even track their scopes. They didn’t know what scope was used on what patient or…that a particular scope kept breaking down. And that’s the same one they kept sending out, because their tracking programs just aren’t there.” Michael Cousin, the founder of a company called Sympliant, couldn’t agree more with Spaulding. There’s something amiss with the tracking of the use and cleaning of endoscopes. Cousin believes that the problem lies with something that has been dogging the provider side of health care for decades: Too much is still recorded with pen and paper. Meanwhile, before the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, endoscopic procedures had been rising anywhere from 2.5% to 3% a year, he says. “You’ve got a certain amount of space, a certain number of staff, a certain amount of equipment,” Cousin tells ICT®. “But every year, the number of surgeries go up and up and up. You end up with a situation where there’s increased pressure on the health care professionals who are who asked to deliver this care.” Cousin believes that the answer to the problem is to use a “web enabled platform” to monitor all phases of endoscope use. This would help take the pressure off health care professionals and lead to much better outcomes, Cousin believes.