Who Says Devices Have to Be Single-Use?

By Antonia Finlayson | July 19, 2017

Did you know that centers that reprocess their single-use devices save, on average, $25,000 per operating room per year? With personnel costs increasing and reimbursements not adjusting to supply spend trends, there’s no better way to decrease your case costs and see immediate bottom-line improvement than reprocessing. In today’s healthcare environment, the demand for cost efficiencies that don’t compromise high levels of patient care or surgeon satisfaction is driving fast growth in the reprocessing market, which reached $1.079 billion globally in 2016 and is projected to grow by 10.6 percent in 2017.¹

Healthcare facilities need to look for ways to reduce expenditures, and most are eager to convert from new products for a five to 10 percent cost reduction.

Adding Up the Savings

A 2012 study examining seven healthcare facilities of varying sizes reported that reprocessing operating room devices would save about $57 per procedure over five years.² An earlier U.S. Government Accountability Office report found facilities using reprocessed devices saved between $200,000 and $1 million annually.³

Given the tighter reimbursement conditions between surgery centers and hospitals, reprocessing could be more impactful in outpatient settings. A case could also be made that surgery centers can realize greater savings per procedure than hospitals, based on the potential for higher specific case volumes in outpatient settings versus hospitals.

Safety Standards

Growth in the reprocessing market may also reflect the medical community’s increased comfort with the devices. Available data indicates that reprocessed devices pose no greater risk to patients than new ones, according to a 2008 GAO report.4 Every device is inspected multiple times by technicians at each stage of the process, from decontamination and cleaning, to refurbishing and testing to packaging and sterilization. In a study published in the 2016 Journal of Medical Devices, original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) single-use devices are nearly five times more likely to be defective than reprocessed. The protocol to reprocess an instrument is very stringent. Twenty of U.S. News & World Report’s best hospitals use reprocessed devices. The data is there to support using a service like ReNewal. To see Medline’s ReNewal reprocessing facility in action, click here. How will your facility reap the rewards of reprocessing?

This story originally appeared in Outpatient Outcomes magazine. Click here to subscribe.


1. Global Reprocessed Medical Devices Market to Reach Worth USD 2,461.4 Mn by 2022. https://www.credenceresearch.com/press/global-reprocessed-medical-devices-market.

2. Green Ribbon Commission. http://www.greenribboncommission.org/

3. Single-Use Medical Devices. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GAOREPORTS-HEHS-00-123/html/GAOREPORTS-HEHS-00-123.htm. Government Publishing Office. 2000.

4. Reprocessed Single-Use Medical Devices. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08147.pdf. Government Accountability Office. January 2008.

Categories: Expert Views, Perioperative

Antonia Finlayson

Vice President of Marketing for Specialty Sales

Antonia Finlayson is responsible for creating marketing strategies and working with customers to find solutions for ambulatory surgery centers, physician offices, transplant organizations, research facilities and career colleges. She graduated from the University of Illinois and completed her Master’s at DePaul University. She also owns and creates content for an outpatient facilities’ magazine, Outpatient Outcomes. Prior to Medline, Finlayson was a global marketing and product manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific. She is a member of PWH, LPA, ASCA and AALAS.

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