Single-Use Devices (SUDs)

What is a single-use device (SUD)?

Also known as a disposable device, a single-use device is meant to be used on one patient during one procedure. It should not be reprocessed (e.g., disinfected, sterilized, or cleaned) and used on another patient. If a device does not have reprocessing instructions, it is considered single-use and should be disposed of after one use.

A single-use device is different from a single-patient-use device. A single-patient use device may be used for more than one episode of care so long as it is used only on one patient. The device may undergo some reprocessing (cleaning) between each use. In comparison, the single-use device may only be used once, even if the same patient requires it.

Examples of SUDs include:

  • Orthopedic implants
  • Stents
  • Catheters
  • Needles
  • Lancets

Why would a single-use device be used?

Some SUDs have reusable alternatives, but these versions may be challenging to clean adequately, so the SUD is often the safer, easier, and cost-effective option.

When considering the cost of a disposable or reusable item, it is crucial to consider the price, time, and materials involved in cleaning and reprocessing it. Accounting for all these elements, which weigh on a device's cost, may show that the SUD remains the better choice.