Quality standards for rigid endoscopes
Unfortunately there are no minimum requirements for rigid endoscopes. More specifically, the manufacturers do not inform their customers about the minimal quality standards. The only thing most manufacturers tell us are the next values from new endoscopes:
• Length of the scope
• Thickness of the scope
• Viewing angle of the scope (sometimes field of view)
How can we decide, based on those four criteria, which brands we should buy or whether we can still use them?
What are the instructions from the manufacturers to check the quality
So when there are no objective criteria to determine the quality of rigid endoscopes, how do we determine if an endoscope is still good enough?
Let’s have a closer look at the instructions/guidelines from manufacturers regarding the inspection for damage / visual quality:
Check the endoscope exterior surface and objective lens for scratches, burns, dents or other damage. The image clarity of the endoscope can be checked by conducting the following steps:
- Hold the endoscope about three inches from a non-glare printed page.
- Move the endoscope toward the page until it is almost one-quarter inch away from the surface of the page.
- Verify that the image is clear and sharp, without any distortion. Discoloration may be due to improper cleaning, rinsing, and moisture within the endoscope, or due to a broken optical lens or misaligned optics.
Performance and interpretation of endoscope tests
Due to the fact that checking these guidelines is a subjective matter, there is often hassle and discussion between the CSSD and the operating theatre.
Furthermore past studies have proven that our eyes are sharper in the morning compared to the afternoon. This could result in the fact that an endoscope (without being used during the day) will fail the test in the morning but is approved in the afternoon.
In a lot of countries it is mandatory that the quality of the instruments is stored (log-file), but why should you rely on the outcome of subjective measurements?
ScopeControl tests the quality of scopes
ScopeControl is an objective measurement device that tests the quality of scopes in three minutes. All measurements are saved including some snapshots. ScopeControl will notice the smallest deviation immediately and measures objective, no matter what time.
Hospital “A” had bought years ago a batch of endoscopes from type X, after three years they decided to order a new batch of type X. After the visual inspection everything looks promising but according to ScopeControl certain values of the new batch were 30% less than the old scopes. Hospital “A” invited the dealer of these endoscopes and they admitted that the manufacturer changed the internal structure of the endoscopes.
With ScopeControl you will find out yourself which brands are the best and live longer. Hospitals can save money here.
This is a clear example that we cannot depend only on our eyes but we need an objective measuring device. In order to enhance the patient safety (reducing anesthesia time and infection risk) it is so important to rely on an objective measurement device.