Traceability in ultrasound probe decontamination

Traceability in ultrasound probe decontamination is an important asset for quality control and risk management programs.

The benefits reach both patient and facility. In outbreak settings, traceability is needed to identify necessary patient notifications and device recalls in a timely and cost-efficient manner.  In a non-outbreak setting, traceability is evidence a facility has met its obligations in providing best practice, quality patient care for all. Complete documentation can also capture decontamination gaps informing staff training, and systems errors which can be promptly investigated.

A traceability system is a tool that links the reprocessing record (for example, chemical sterilisation or high-level disinfection process) to the unique probe identifier (UPI) and the patient (identification) on whom the probe will be used. Traceability is required across Europe, more specifically in UK for semi-critical devices such as endoscopes or endocavitary ultrasound probes and for critical devices like surgical equipment. Ultrasound probe decontamination guidelines from SCoR/BMUS1, Health Facilities Scotland2 and Health Service Executive (HSE) Ireland3, also require traceability systems to be in place for ultrasound probes.

In Routine, traceability systems are required to ensure accurate readable and secured data. The UK Health Technical Memorandums4 list specific information that needs to be collected and linked to the patient for semi-critical devices, including the operator, unique device identifier, reprocessing device, batch numbers, date and time of reprocessing, among other key parameters. HSE Ireland states, in its guidance for ultrasound probes, “A system must be in place to ensure probes are tracked through the decontamination process and linked to the patient on whom the devices have been used.”

HSE Ireland also expects that “The organisation should work toward implementing an electronic tracking system [for probes] that will integrate with a national track and trace system for RIMDs.” So this clearly engages us to admit the fact that digital solution will bring more accurate and complete traceability, more standardised information capture and across the entire probe infection prevention workflow. Digitisation can be achieved using different technologies and can help reduce manual administrative burden and incomplete record keeping. Additionally, digitised information can be efficiently searched compared to manual methods, in the event of an outbreak or identification of decontamination gaps.

Digitised information can also be backed up, stored and retrieved securely and efficiently when needed, in accordance with patient data protection laws. Robust Digital traceability systems also support quality improvement programs, by efficiently revealing vulnerabilities that can be closed with enhanced training or other actions.

Nanosonics AuditPro can support all these needs.

It is a digital infection control management solution that ensures consistent and accurate traceability, improved workflow efficiencies and best practice patient care across your organisation.

Nanosonics AuditPro is an automated and secure digital system that combines clinician infection prevention decision making with the trophon and patient procedure information. The software presents this data in information-rich dashboards.  This provides you with real-time intelligence on ultrasound probes, operators, and infection control events to manage infection prevention practices across your organisation.

For more information visit Nanosonics AuditPro | Nanosonics.


  1. SCoR, BMUS, Association of Healthcare Technology Providers for Imaging, AXREM 2020. Ultrasound Transducer Decontamination – Best Practice Summary
  2. HPS, HFS. NHS Scotland Guidance for Decontamination of Semi-Critical Ultrasound Probes; Semi-invasive and Non-invasive Ultrasound Probes. 2016.
  3. HSE Quality Improvement Division. Guidance for Decontamination of Semi‐critical Ultrasound Probes; Semi‐invasive and Non-invasive Ultrasound Probes. 2017.
  4. Department of Health UK (2016). Health Technical Memorandum 01-06 Part C 72 Operational management.

This news story has been sponsored by the companies concerned and does not represent the views or opinions of RAD Magazine.

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