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Putting Patient Safety at the Forefront: Helping Hospitals Follow Endoscope Reprocessing Guidelines

Patient safety is a top priority in healthcare. Unfortunately, despite the measures that healthcare organizations take to keep patients safe and healthy, healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) are a significant cause of illness and even death. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says that at any given time, nearly 1 in 31 patients receiving in-patient care have an infection related to their hospital care.

A subset of these HAIs is endoscope-associated infections, which are caused by contaminated endoscopes that were not correctly reprocessed and sterilized. In October 2021, the American Journal of Gastroenterology issued an analysis of studies published from 2010 to 2020 and revealed that nearly 20% of reprocessed patient-ready gastrointestinal endoscopes may be contaminated with microorganisms.

Standards for reprocessing are necessary to reduce endoscope-associated infections. Organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates and the Association for the Advance of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) have all issued recommendations and guidelines for endoscope reprocessing programs.

In 2016, the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) and the CDC issued a report that recommended ways to reduce the risk of endoscope- and instrument-related HAIs.

In the report, the CDC and HICPAC say that healthcare facilities “should have a reliable, high-quality system for endoscope reprocessing which minimizes infection risks.” The report gives seven essential steps for high-quality cleaning and reprocessing:

  1. Pre-cleaning. Following the device manufacturer’s instructions, staff should perform pre-cleaning immediately after the completion of the endoscope procedure to help prevent biofilm from forming.
  2. Leak testing. If the endoscope requires leak testing, it should be performed after each use and prior to the manual cleaning. This helps detect damage to the endoscope.
  3. Manual cleaning. Manual cleaning should be meticulous—and include “brushing and flushing channels and ports” consistent with the manufacturer’s instructions for use. HICPAC and the CDC call this “the most critical step in the disinfection process.”
  4. Visual inspection. Reprocessing staff should conduct a thorough visual inspection of the endoscope and its accessories to ensure that they are clean and free of defects.
  5. Disinfection or sterilization. After manual cleaning and visual inspection are complete, a high-level disinfection or sterilization should be performed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
  6. Storage. When cleaning and reprocessing is complete, endoscopes and accessories should be stored in a way that prevents recontamination, protects against damage and promotes drying.
  7. Documentation. Documentation of each step’s completion is necessary each time an endoscope is reprocessed for quality assurance purposes.

Why Drying and Storage Cabinets Are a Critical Part of Reprocessing

In March 2022, the AAMI released a report with a revised set of endoscope reprocessing guidelines. The AAMI’s updated recommendations include a “heightened focus on endoscope drying,” because the presence of moisture can increase the risk of infection, and storage recommendations.

Research, which was published in a 2008 issue of the Journal of Hospital Infection, found that when endoscopes were stored in a drying and storage cabinet, the “microbial contamination levels on endoscopes were lower than the number of bacteria initially introduced and could decrease considerably thereafter.” For endoscopes that were stored outside of the drying storage cabinet, the microbial numbers stayed the same or increased.

In the past, the AAMI wrote in a 2020 report, “many facilities stored patient-ready endoscopes in transport bins, in original endoscope boxes with foam inserts, and upright in cabinets with and without air flow.” Instead, the organization writes, storage solutions should have active air circulation, forced-air designs or both.

At Storage Systems Unlimited, we offer the InnerSpace Ventaire Scope Drying and Tracking Cabinet, which is compatible with all major endoscope brands, along with offerings from other manufacturers. “The Ventaire cabinet includes an automated system that provides consistent and continuous delivery of HEPA-filtered, pressurized air into all endoscope channels to keep scopes dry and vented,” InnerSpace explains.

The Ventaire cabinet’s 10-inch display screen shows real-time information, including endoscope locations, storage times, channel availability, and the temperature and humidity level inside the cabinet. It also displays the time before scopes are expired, and the system can generate a report detailing all scope activity—including when they are checked in and checked out.

Using the cabinet can help hospitals and healthcare organizations reduce the number of endoscope-associated infections and improve patient safety. To learn more or to get pricing on the InnerSpace Ventaire Scope Drying and Tracking Cabinet, contact us at 1-888-614-0004.

How Storage Systems Saves You Time and Energy

Developing storage solutions for hospital inventory can involve selecting a wide variety of products from multiple manufacturers. Making decisions about the right carts, shelving, cabinets, plastic bins and other space saving products to organize each type of supplies can be overwhelming.

That’s why it makes sense to work with a one-stop provider who can offer access to a wide variety of manufacturers’ products. With just one contact, hospital decision makers can learn about and order the products they need from an array of suppliers.

For example, over the past 40 years, Storage Systems Unlimited has developed long-standing relationships with dozens of manufacturers that provide healthcare storage options for every department. “Our consolidated approach to representing multiple brands allows us to do the shopping for our customers, providing all the possible options on a single quote,” says Catherine Adkins, project manager at Storage Systems Unlimited. “This ensures you receive the best products at the best price while saving you time and energy.”

By working with a full-service storage solution provider like Storage Systems, hospital supply chain professionals can save significant time and energy. Relying on a vendor to guide product selection, planning and design, installation and project management means supply chain professionals are able to use their time and energy on other strategic pursuits.

Product Selection

Choosing storage products from a vendor that represents just one or two manufacturers limits your options and can require you to spend significant extra time and energy. For example, if one manufacturer offers the storage solutions you need for the operating room but not what you want for the nurses’ station, you’ll be forced to contact other vendors and review their options separately until you find the right products for each department.

On the other hand, when you work with a one-stop provider like Storage Systems Unlimited, you can access the best prices on thousands of storage-related products like shelving, carts, cabinets, lockers and workstations from dozens of leading manufacturers. “Because we represent multiple manufacturers, we can provide you pricing options on, for instance, wire shelving from InterMetro, Lakeside, Eagle, LogiQuip and Quantum,” Adkins says.

Planning and Design

When you’re building a new facility or remodeling an existing facility, you can save time and energy by including Storage Systems from the early stages of planning and design. And when you work with a full-service vendor, that’s part of the process.

“We can provide planning and design services to meet strict engineering and government codes on product add-ons, renovations, expansions, new facilities and more,” Adkins says. In addition to serving as a distributor for storage-related products, Storage Systems also helps with consolidating products for facility construction projects. That includes on-site product evaluation and inventory, reuse of existing products, supplying CAD drawings to show layout of products on architectural plans, and coordinating installation with the general contractor.


Selecting the right storage products and getting the best prices are just the beginning. To get supplies organized and ready for use, those storage products must be installed properly and safely. Coordinating installation for cabinets, shelving and other storage products can be a time-consuming endeavor.

Storage Systems Unlimited employs licensed and bonded installers to properly assemble and install every product it sells. “Our team will receive the products, unbox, assemble, install and even haul away the trash when we finish,” Adkins says.

Project Management

When you purchase storage products from individual manufacturers, you are responsible for product selection, installation and coordination with construction managers. However, when you rely on a full-service storage solution provider to manage the entire project, you can conserve your time and energy for other tasks and pursuits.

“We coordinate every project from start to finish, on time and on budget, with thorough communication throughout the process with the buyer, contractor and end user,” Adkins says. “Storage Systems works on projects of all sizes across the United States, giving customers quick access to our customer service, installation and project management teams.”

At Storage Systems Unlimited, we provide all storage-related products for every department with a choice of multiple manufacturers. We also offer preferred pricing, planning, design, installation and project management for healthcare organization and storage systems. Contact us at 1-888-614-0004 or visit to learn more or request a quote.