Whether your facility uses endocavity transducers, TEE probes, endoscopes, or all the above, each of these devices needs to be stored in a safe place, after disinfection. Too many facilities have no standardized way of storing semi-critical devices. Unfortunately, this means that in some healthcare facilities, anything goes, with some even storing these expensive devices in pillow cases! Correct storage is important to keep devices functional and for patient safety. When a facility has no standard procedure in place for storing semi-critical devices, they increase the risk of damage and contamination.
When trying to determine the best method for storing semi-critical devices in your healthcare facility, it is vital to remember a few key things: they are delicate and easily damaged, they must be kept safe from contamination, and whatever method is chosen must be in line with requirements and guidelines set by the major accrediting agencies. The Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, SDMS, gives some guidance on what to look for in a storage solution: "Proper storage reduces the risk of re-contamination of the transducer from environmental contaminants or accidental contamination during storage. Follow the manufacturer's IFU or other guidance for proper storage."
One commonly used option for semi-critical device storage is PVC pipes or simply a rack mounted on a wall. PVC pipes are not a great solution because they are open to the air on the top and bottom; this leaves the device exposed to whatever contaminants may be floating around the room. A wall-mounted rack is even worse as it offers the devices no protection at all from airborne contaminants. If a probe becomes contaminated before being used on the next patient, the patient may be given a healthcare acquired infection (HAI), and may become very ill. These methods of storage also leave devices vulnerable to damage, as they are easy to bump and either jostle the delicate transducers or even knock them down onto the ground.
The best solution for storage of endocavity transducers, TEE probes, and endoscopes is a CleanShield Storage Cabinet. Storage cabinets prevent devices from being contaminated, they keep devices safe from damage, and they help your facility stay compliant with regulations.
Storage cabinets significantly minimize the risk of contamination to the semi-critical device in storage. Each cabinet is equipped with a HEPA filter which removes all airborne contaminants down to 0.3 microns in size. This helps ensure that a high-level disinfected device remains as free as possible from airborne contaminates until it is ready for its next use, keeping patients healthy and operational costs down. The thermally-fused seamless polypropylene construction of CleanShield Cabinets makes the interior of each cabinet easy to clean with any disinfectant, further ensuring the continued disinfection status of stored devices.
Cabinets also provide devices with security from accidental bumps and damage. CleanShield Cabinets have specially designed hanging shelves which perfectly house transducers and power packs, while allowing cables to hang freely, preventing damage that often comes from coiling cables too tightly. The heavy-duty polypropylene construction of CleanShield Cabinets keeps stored devices from being inadvertently banged or scraped by passersby. Additionally, the lock on the cabinet doors provides additional security for the expensive devices within.
Finally, storage cabinets are a method of storage that helps keep your healthcare facility in compliance with the guidelines set by the major professional and accrediting agencies in the country. While there is no legal requirement for probe storage in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that probes be hung vertically when in storage. The Joint Commission practically describes a storage cabinet when they recommend that probes be hung, "vertically in a clean, well-ventilated and dust-free area." Even internationally, storage cabinets are widely recommended for the storage of semi-critical devices.
In short, the best way to ensure semi-critical devices stay high-level disinfected, are kept safe from damage, and are stored in a way that keep you compliant is by incorporating a CleanShield Storage Cabinet at your facility. Consult your facility's infection control practitioner and the TEE probe manufacturer to develop a standard operating procedure at your healthcare facility and implement one of the safest methods for semi-critical device storage: a CleanShield Storage Cabinet.