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BESTest your system

Reprocessing departments frequently have Automated Endoscope Reprocessors (AER) and dryers sourced from different companies, and therefore they will not have been tested as a complete system.

Not all AERs are routinely as effective as they should be at reducing bacterial loads, but the unit’s dryers may make the whole process more effective at reducing the contamination.  There are instances where the AER has done a good initial job, but the final rinse water has introduced contamination.  Conversely, the AER may have done a good complete job, but the process in the dryer may have introduced cross-contamination.  Most departmental processes expose an endoscope to the open air as the scope is transferred from the AER to the dryer. Looking at the whole process as a system, there are places where the process is ‘at risk’.

Most departments will follow Quarterly and Annual processes for their AERs and their dryers separately, but they really should be tested as a complete process since the performance of one could affect the other, and there is otherwise an untested link in the chain between the two units.  The BESTest has been introduced as a means to test the complete process from introduction of a scope into the AER through to removal from the dryer – and has found many systems producing contaminated product at the end of the process.

The BESTest process employs surrogate devices (using worst case models described in BS EN 16442:2014) through which a department’s total system of washing and drying an endoscope is employed to ensure the outcome of reprocessing the surrogate devices meets the AER and drying cabinet manufacturer’s stated performance levels. 

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