November 10, 2022, San Diego, CA – In a new publication in the American Journal of Infection Control entitled “A New Normal for The Clinician’s Third Hand: Stethoscope Hygiene and Infection Prevention,” the authors, leaders in infection control, identify the threat that persistent and widespread gaps in stethoscope hygiene pose to patients, and in particular, patients who are immune-compromised. The article also explores the challenges and pitfalls that are characteristic of the current standards of stethoscope hygiene. Additionally, the authors suggest that stethoscope hygiene innovation, in the form of touch free aseptic barriers, provide an opportunity to address the threat of healthcare associated infection transmission by the stethoscope.
The stethoscope, the most frequently used medical instrument with over 5.5 billion annual auscultations in the US alone, is commonly referred to as the “clinician’s third hand.” It is a ubiquitous, valuable clinical tool and an enduring symbol of the trust between healthcare providers and patients. The stethoscope is also a proven vector of pathogen transmission, with CDC cleaning guidelines that are incompatible with the intensity of stethoscope use and the highpaced workflow in clinical settings. Observational studies reveal that stethoscopes are seldom cleaned between patients and, even when cleaning does occur, less than 4% of stethoscope diaphragms in these studies met CDC cleanliness requirements. In instances where cleaning techniques such as alcohol swabs are employed in accordance with guidelines, studies have shown that resistant pathogens frequently persist. Moreover, disposable, “single-patient” stethoscope alternatives offer significantly compromised acoustics, shown in one study to produce a misdiagnosis 10.9% of the time, and fail to address the risk of clinician-to-clinician infections.
“We clinicians don’t have an extra minute between patients to clean our stethoscopes thoroughly, and even when we do there are dangerous pathogens that alcohol can’t remove,” said Dr. Frank Peacock the Chief Medical Officer at AseptiScope. “We developed The DiskCover System because it accomplishes, in a single second, what alcohol cleaning cannot; patient protection from exposure to the dangerous pathogens that thrive on the stethoscope diaphragm” Dr. Peacock added.
The DiskCover System (www.diskcover.com) from AseptiScope Inc. is the first and only touchfree stethoscope barrier dispensing system. The DiskCover System dispenses single-use aseptic disk covers that are proven to protect patients from exposure to harmful pathogens and contaminants on the stethoscope diaphragm without compromising the acoustics critical for accurate diagnoses. The compact DiskCover System, designed to be mounted in or near hand hygiene stations in the clinical setting, applies individual disk cover barriers instantly, minimizing workflow disruption and encouraging clinician compliance.
“Our urgent care clinical care teams had very early access to this new stethoscope hygiene technology from AseptiScope,” said Dr. Francesca Torriani the Medical Program Director of Infection Prevention and Clinical Epidemiology at UC San Diego Health and co-author of the publication. “In a survey of clinical users of the system, our teams reported that the technology is easy to use, may actually improve clinical workflow, and, importantly, is perceived to improve stethoscope hygiene and patient safety,” Dr. Torriani concluded.
“The authors of today’s publication are infection control experts at some of the world’s top cancer centers. They cannot afford to ignore how stethoscope contamination actively undermines infection control protocols and exposes patients to pathogen transmission,” said AseptiScope CEO Scott Mader. “The vulnerability of immune-compromised cancer patients makes these experts the de facto leaders in elevating this problem to the highest level while recognizing the solution that touch-free barrier technology like The DiskCover System offers,” Mr. Mader stated.
About AseptiScope, Inc.
AseptiScope, Inc. (www.aseptiscope.com), formed in early 2016, is a privately funded San Diego, California-based, clinical innovation company. The company is founded and led by clinical innovation experts, leading medical researchers and practicing physicians. The mission of AseptiScope is to design, develop, manufacture and commercialize novel solutions that offer “Infection Protection for Clinician & Patient.” In 2022, the company launched the first true and practical solution for the longstanding challenge of stethoscope contamination: The DiskCover System.
AseptiScope and related logos, Clean Cassette and related logos, and DiskCover are registered trademarks of AseptiScope, Inc. DiskCover related logos are trademarks of AseptiScope, Inc.
Scott Mader, CEO