Proper traceability and decontamination of surgical instruments can save lives December 2th, 2019

Proper traceability and decontamination of surgical instruments can save lives

Decontamination services are a vital support function within healthcare and enable the proper cleaning and sterilisation of reusable surgical instruments. Being able to ensure full traceability of devices and to comply with the new unique device identification (UDI) regulatory requirements being introduced by the EU in 2020 is becoming paramount. Therefore today, more and more health organisations are investigating solutions to mark surgical instruments so that each item can be accurately tracked through the decontamination process including washing, disinfection, packing and sterilisation. 

By being able to uniquely identify, track, and trace individual medical devices through the supply chain and, importantly, into a patient pathway the UDI regulation is designed to fundamentally improve patient safety and allow medical facilities to remove an unsafe product from harm’s way before it reaches a patient.  

To achieve this, the solution is to allow a compliant barcode to be marked onto each instrument. It is important that the barcode does not affect or is affected by the decontamination process and that the same process can be used on a range of instruments of different sizes made from a variety of different materials. For this, laser marking technology proves to be significantly more cost effective than a label-based identification system, which would require labels to be replaced every two years. 

There are several different laser marking technologies available on the market. CO2 and Fibre based laser systems or DPSS (diode-pumped solid state) are just a few examplesDatalogic’s DPPS, Ulyxe, delivers shorter bursts of energy which result in a much neater mark, tested and approved by independent laboratories. Unlike other methods that change the surface of the kit, the laser also does not affect the protective passive layer, so there is no added cleaning risk with this system. And for healthcare services wishing to have more information on the instruments, in addition to marking barcodes, this system can also be used to mark alphanumeric characters and even logos if required.  

Unlike medication and disposable packaged items, it is very difficult to use traditional label-based systems on these instruments if Health organisations want to reduce risk and improve patient safety. Laser marking is perfectly suited to the variety of reusable devices that will need to be marked under the EU unique device identification (UDI) regulation and Datalogic’s laser marking technology is definitely one to consider.  Contact your BlueStar representative to find out more about how Datalogic has the best laser marking technology in the industry. 


Samantha is BlueStar's Digital Media Specialist, and the primary contributing writer for VartechNation. Previously, she has worked as a Public Relations Associate and a Social Media Manager.