Christchurch company saving medical devices destined for dump

Ryan Boswell
Source: 1News

A Christchurch company is working to eliminate financial waste in New Zealand’s healthcare system, with the potential to save $100 million a year.

Medsalv is taking used medical devices destined for the dump and cleaning them up so they can be reused in hospitals nationwide.

Oliver Hunt founded Medsalv as part of his masters in engineering management, and said there’s the potential to save 1700 tonnes of waste each year.

“Re-manufactured products are typically sold back to hospitals for between 40% to 75% of the original price,” said Hunt.

Once, 150,000 compression sleeves would go to the landfill, now half of those end up at the Medsalv warehouse. Each item is scanned so it can be tracked, and then it’s tested to make sure it performs in an equivalent manner to a brand-new device.

The removal of contaminants is a trade secret, but Hunt said the team goes over each item with a fine tooth comb.

“If it’s a product that’s been used on a patients lower limbs there’s a good chance it might’ve picked up some hairs so we have a process for removing them,” said Hunt.

Public Health Physician Dr Anna Stevenson said Christchurch Hospital is one of 34 hospitals participating in the programme because it helps the environment and saves money.

When asked about the compression sleeves, Stevenson said the hospital “can reuse them at least six times and I think the most we've ever managed is 14 times”.