Mike Callaghan
Vice President of Marketing for Endoscopy, Olympus

The work of healthcare often involves making certain the right tools are at hand. That means acquiring the right devices and other products, but there’s a similar need to consistently evaluate and improve upon processes.

Matters of workflow and supply chain management were at the forefront when Olympus introduced the Unifia system in the fall. The innovative solution provides healthcare facilities with a means to ensure optimum efficiency and safety in the management of endoscopes.

To learn more, Surgical Products interviewed Mike Callaghan, vice president of marketing for endoscopy at Olympus.

What can you tell us about the new Unifia system?

Unifia is an endoscope documentation, workflow and asset management software platform that helps staff supervisors, infection prevention champions and supply chain managers have greater visibility into the utilization, cleaning, reprocessing and storage of the flexible endoscopes in their departments.

Unifia makes it possible to track and visualize an endoscope’s movement, from the front desk to storage room and all stops in between, in order to better understand trends, conduct analysis and act accordingly.

How does this platform help bring the full staff together in the task of infection prevention?

Unifia consists of a software platform designed to manage Olympus endoscope data, as well as handheld readers that scan the RFID tag or bar code on each device. The software captures, interprets and stores the RFID read data, thereby creating a history of where each endoscope has been, and when it may break the expected parameters of its processing. That information provides hospitals with greater infection protection for patients, as well as an asset-management tool to ensure that endoscopes are available when needed.

Unifia is designed to automatically collect data in order to ensure that no endoscope is used without the proper procedures being completed within an allowed amount of time.

What is the learning curve like with the Unifia?

Unifia was designed with the user experience in mind. Unifia utilizes the proprietary, built-in RFID technology of Olympus endoscopes and OER-Pro reprocessors to track an endoscope’s movement throughout the GI lab.

Wireless scanners, used to track an endoscope’s journey, collect information on the asset’s real time location, patient interactions and user performance. The automated steps in the workflow assist in making the process user friendly for the entire hospital staff.

(Image credit: Olympus)

What steps does a facility need to take in order to be ready to incorporate the Unifia into their work?

Incorporation is easy: it replaces existing paper tracking of endoscope management and is managed on a client server. In most cases, it can be up and running quickly. Once implemented, staff should plan to meet periodically to discuss trends revealed in the data and actionable steps to address them.

Olympus Medical Systems Group is the largest provider of endoscope devices in the United States. Customers can purchase the solution outright, including the handheld scanners, or pay a monthly fee for the service.

How does the data collected by the Unifia help facilities in their future decision-making?

For facility communication needs, Unifia’s Daily Dashboard visualizes data for staff and managers from the time a patient arrives at a facility’s waiting room through to both patient discharge and the endoscope’s return to the storage cabinet. The Daily Dashboard also provides real time feedback on a facility’s endoscope fleet, including endoscope hang times, when procedure rooms' turnovers are required, how much time an endoscope is waiting for manual cleaning, time remaining in the reprocessor and endoscopes out of facility.

Departments can make data driven decisions with Unifia’s Infection Prevention and Materials and Asset Management modules that makes creating charts and graphics fast and easy. Unifia provides the needed transparency for decision-making by providing a deeper understanding of endoscope utilization, mix and acquisition needs.

For nurse managers, Unifia enables easy understanding of staff workloads, compliance to reprocessing steps and allows for reprocessing breach analysis within seconds. Unifia is transforming Olympus from a solutions company, by which we make it easy for our GI customers to gain more than clinical data, but now also operations data that will drive compliance and utilization initiatives.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Olympus is evolving into more than just an excellent imaging partner; we are a complete solutions provider for our customers.

In addition to Unifia, Olympus is expanding our EndoTherapy product line, building on our commitment to innovation and advancement in the field of endoscopy and history as a pioneer in Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD). We recently unveiled a new line of ESD scissor-type knives, the SB knives that enable mucosal incision, submucosal dissection and hemostasis.

Also, we entered into an exclusive co-promotion agreement with Aries Pharmaceuticals for Eleview, an FDA-cleared, ready-to-use submucosal injection agent that provides an immediate and long-lasting cushion for GI endoscopic resections of polyps, adenomas, and other lesions. And, we formed a new distribution agreement with Ruhof for Guardian, a sterile, single use disposable valve that eliminates the need for manual cleaning and is color coded for easy identification and differentiation.

These initiatives underscore Olympus’ commitment to offering full solutions that complement our leadership in endoscopic visualization.