A Full Scope Analysis of Esophageal Dilator Reprocessing


How disposable dilators are increasing efficiency and decreasing costs is U.S. healthcare facilities.

Effective and compliant dilator reprocessing can be challenging. Lengthy and cumbersome cleaning protocols, high reprocessing costs, plus the extra burden on an already constrained staff all compound the workflow nuances.

According to the Joint Commission and other accreditation standards, guidelines recommend weekly dilator cleaning regardless of use. As Healthcare continues to battle rising labor costs and bandwidth constraints, organizations are looking for new ways to ensure compliance while managing limited resources.

This has created an uptick in the number of healthcare facilities switching from reusable to disposable dilators; a move that’s elevating efficiency and reducing labor demand

Maria Paulter, RN, BSN, CGRN, Endoscopy Nurse Manager at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point Hospital saw a significant impact on efficiency after her hospital adopted single-use dilators.

“Since moving to CleanGuide™, our reprocessing turnover times have decreased by 45-60 minutes per case,” she shared. “As an Endo Nurse Manager, the biggest advantage is there’s no cleaning required.”

Her team was excited about the time savings, but then they noticed a less obvious benefit… REDUCED COSTS

Transitioning from reusable to single-use devices doesn’t typically trigger thoughts of cost savings. But in the case of reusable dilators, with multiple reprocessing elements to be considered, it’s the reality. So much so, that facilities making the switch to disposable dilators are sharing their experiences with colleagues and other healthcare leaders. 

“Especially if you consider reprocessing time, the staff’s time, the cost of enzymatic chemicals, cleaning equipment, and PPE…” Maria recalls doing the math. “I would, and have, recommended CONMED’s CleanGuide™ Disposable Dilators to other facilities. Save yourself time and money with CleanGuide™,” she says. 

Matthew Wido, Lead Endoscopy Technician and Head of Endoscopy Device Reprocessing at Bravera Health Seven Rivers, also noticed a difference in his facility after switching to CleanGuide™ Disposable Dilators. 

“Physicians didn’t see the backend of reprocessing the Reusable Dilators. CleanGuide™ Esophageal Dilators have created efficiency and provided a cost savings,”  he explained. 

But it wasn’t until Fall of 2023 that a thorough cost analysis was created by Jim Collins, BS, RN, CNOR at Cleveland Clinic. Enticed by the benefits of CleanGuide™ Disposable Dilators, Jim created the analysis to ensure fiduciary responsibility for Cleveland Clinic. 

He examined the cost differential line-by-line of CleanGuide™ Disposable OTW Esophageal Dilators compared to reusable dilators, based on 2022 data.  

And the numbers didn’t lie…He found that organizations who reprocess 1200 dilators a year at an average of 15 minutes reprocessing time each were spending upwards of 300 hours annually just in reprocessing time. And that was before considering the costs outside of labor.

Jim was convinced – “Why lose sleep over reusable dilator concerns?” he questioned. “CleanGuide™ Disposable Dilators alleviate worries of improperly reprocessed dilators and assure compliance with accreditation standards like the Joint Commission. Plus, there’s never a doubt that our unit will have safe, patient-ready dilators ready to go when the need arises.” 

If your facility is also looking for ways to juggle staff capacity constraints and rising labor costs, consider a disposable alternative to reusable dilators. It could provide the efficiency you’re looking for without additional spend.