In this week’s DeviceTalks Weekly podcast, senior executives from Ambu A/S and Boston Scientific made compelling arguments for hospitals and healthcare providers to switch over from traditional reusable scopes.
1. Better technology
Juan Jose Gonzalez, CEO of Ambu A/S, said innovation in camera technologies — like we’re seeing in smart phones — make the disposable scopes as good as reusable scopes. Gonzalez offered an interesting hypothetical. If you were recreating the endoscopy practice today, “you would never have created that reusable model. You would never say buy a $200,000 tower with a $50,000 reusable scope and then let’s use chemicals to process it and, by the way, even with that it may not be fully sterile.” Every year, he says, technology trends move endoscopy professionals more toward single-use scopes.
2. Patient safety
Brian Dunkin, MD, CMO of Boston Scientific Endoscopy, said traditional duodenoscopes require over 130 manual steps to be properly sterilized for reuse. “We’ve seen with studies that come out of the FDA that even when the process is done with oversight and using what is thought to be best practices, one in 20 endoscopes that are thought to be patient-ready actually have a pathogen of concern on them,” he said. “As a clinician, I’ve done thousands of these procedures in my practice,” he said. “Nobody wants to tell a patient that you’ve got one in 20 chances that the thing I’m going to use on you is contaminated.” The FDA gave its first approval to a disposable duodenoscope – Boston Scientific’s EXALT – in December.
Dave Pierce, president of Boston Scientific’s medsurg and endoscopy businesses, says single-use scopes appeal to many constituencies in healthcare — clinicians, infection prevention, senior executives. Boston Scientific is also working with CMS. In June, the company announced the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will speed up Medicare beneficiaries’ access to single-use endoscopes. CMS granted a Boston Sci application for a transitional pass-through (TPT) payment category — an only months-old payment category meant to provide people with access to innovative medical technologies while needed cost data is collected. Ambu also recently announced an important deal with Premier Inc., the group purchasing organization.
Steven Block, president of Ambu US, said the company has already sold single-use endoscopes to 96% of the top hospitals in the U.S. Block added that those hospitals will serve as single-scopes’ biggest advocates. “The hospitals that are doing it are really pointing their fingers to the hospitals next door and saying they have the problem,” Block said. “We don’t have the problem.” Once those other hospitals have a report of a contaminated scope, “they call us and they convert immediately,” Bloc added. “So sometimes it takes a couple of weeks and sometimes it might take a couple of years, but sooner or later they will go single-use.”
To hear more on this growing market listen to this week’s DeviceTalks Weekly podcast.
In addition, MassDevice’s Executive Editor Chris Newmarker will reveal this week’s #NewmarkersNewsmakers including Bardy Diagnostics, Kevin Hykes, COVID-19 Vaccine makers, Theranica, Joe Biden, Donald Trump and Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes.