In 1976, Frank Bass and Bernard Esquenet teamed up to create The Ruhof Corporation. Frank Bass’ initial role in the company was one of sales, marketing and research while Bernard Esquenet was the chemist behind Ruhof’s success. Prior to the launch of Ruhof, Bass recognized the need for hospitals to use more than simple dishwashing detergent in cleaning surgical instruments. Esquenet had created cleaning solutions for the Navy that were used to clean barnacles and other crustaceous marine residues from the heat ex-changers and water evaporators of submarines and other naval vessels. When Bass approached him to develop cleaning solutions for hospital instruments, Esquenet realized that the enzymes he was using to eat away at the marine organism residues would also dissolve proteins off of surgical instruments. Thus, Protozyme, the very first enzymatic cleaner for surgical instrumentation was born along with Surgistain, a product for refurbishing corroded stainless steel instruments.
Since then, Ruhof has dedicated itself to the research, development and manufacturing of state-of-the-art products to ensure the complete cleaning and reprocessing of all surgical instruments and scopes. Addressing the ever-increasing concern of cross contamination in hospitals, Ruhof’s research and development department revolutionized the cleaning industry with its enzymatic detergents, cleaning brushes and foam sprays. Additionally, the comprehensive ScopeValet™ line of endoscopy products supports the steps of the scope reprocessing cycle from bedside cleaning to transport and storage. These GI offerings help endoscopy suites improve operating efficiencies while adhering to guidelines and protecting patients and staff alike.
Q: What are some advantages that your company has over the competition?
A: Ruhof Healthcare sells the only enzymatic detergent on the market (ENDOZIME® BIO-CLEAN) clinically tested to pass the difficult ISO standard 15883 Annex F by dissolving bioﬁlm and exposing underlying bacteria to high-level disinfectants or liquid chemical sterilants. Our products are of the highest quality available and we offer the most complete line of surgical instrument cleaning, scope cleaning and reprocessing supplies in the marketplace. In addition, the company is innovative, continually developing new products and technologies that clean, protect, comply and verify to meet the needs of our customers.
Q: What are some challenges the company faced last year? How were you able to overcome them?
A: Recent reports to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) of processing errors with flexible endoscopes have brought much attention to the importance of this issue. In general, while flexible endoscopes are inherently difficult to clean effectively due to their long narrow lumens and because they are used in highly contaminated areas of the body, the manual component of endoscope reprocessing appears to be the area most prone to error. As a result, newly revised guidelines from the CDC and AORN recommend the use of cleaning verification tests such as ATP bioluminescence, which has been shown to be a rapid and effective method for assessing the efficacy of the cleaning process. The Ruhof ATP COMPLETE® is a quick, simple and reliable method for verifying the effectiveness of the cleaning and decontamination process for the outer surfaces and internal channels of scopes and cannulated instruments along with all non-critical facility surfaces. The ATP Complete® System consists of a lightweight hand-held device, sampling tools – Ruhof Test ® Swab and Ruhof Test® InstruSponge™ – and easy to use software for tracking results. The ATP Complete® System can also be used to test the efficacy of the cleaning process for the especially complex duodenoscope, an endoscope associated with recent outbreaks of Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections.
Q: Can you explain your company’s core competencies and unique selling points?
A: We are the only supplier of enzymatic detergents that manufactures its own product, guaranteeing consistency and quality. Ruhof is a registered ISO 14001 & ISO 13485 manufacturer and we pride ourselves on the superior products we manufacture.
Q: What product or service that your company offers are you most excited about right now?
A: New from Ruhof are the single use ThomasTrap™ and PearlCatch™ polyp traps for the suction retrieval and transportation of endoscopically removed polyps for histological examination. Both traps are easy to use and provide effortless visualization and simple transportation of the collected specimen. Ruhof has also recently launched two product delivery systems, the PrepValet™ FOAMER and the ForeverPrep™ Pretreatment Sprayer. The Ruhof PrepValet™ Foamer quickly and easily applies foaming Prepzyme® over your instrument sets and into cannulas prior to manual cleaning to prevent the adhesion of bio-burden. This automatic delivery system eliminates hard to use trigger sprayers and produces enough foam to cover an entire tray of instruments in just seconds! The Ruhof ForeverPrep™ Pretreatment Sprayer is an automated application system for Prepzyme® Forever Wet Humectant Pre-Cleaner which also makes the job of coating surgical instruments fast and easy.
Q: Can you share some company success stories with our readers – a time that you “saved the day” for a customer?
A: Ruhof often receives positive feedback from customers regarding cost savings. Perioperative and sterile processing professionals regularly tell us that they get better results and more cleaning efficacy using much less of our detergent than other brands. In addition, we receive many reports about product effectiveness. Recently a nurse contacted us about how Ruhof really “saved the day” for her. All other detergents failed to remove an unusual yellow/orange oily deposit from the scopes she was cleaning but our Endozime SLR® enzymatic cleaner – which specializes in removing synthetic lipid residue – did the trick and she has been a loyal customer since.
Q: Can you highlight any recent changes to your company, inventory, services, etc.?
A: We are excited to announce that Ruhof now offers Sterilizer Chamber Cleaning Services! Chamber cleaning is the removal of scale and debris from the sterilizer chamber to remove the possibility of unwanted substances contaminating sterilized items during usage. We remove scale, oxidation in the form of rust, green copper oxidation, melted on stickers, and baked on plastic without damaging any surface of your sterilizer.
Sterilizers use steam that is inherently alkaline to prevent scale buildup in the piping. When this “scale” is deposited, it leaves a concentrated alkaline material that etches or scars the surface of the chamber. This effect can actually be felt with the bare hand. The alkaline material also causes severe discoloration of the chamber walls. Using Ruhof services for routine chamber cleaning will provide protection from this type of damage.
After service, Ruhof provides a detailed service report including before and after photos of the sterilizers (inside and out) along with recommended follow up actions. A Ruhof representative will also follow up to provide a sample of our effective, quick foaming autoclave cleaner (F.A.C.T.S.) for sterilizer maintenance between visits.
Q: How does Ruhof support customers?
A: Ruhof has a most knowledgeable and responsive customer service department and sales team ready to help our customers with questions, orders, troubleshooting, etc. Our user-friendly website and informative technical data sheets/IFUs also provide support. We offer a program of free accredited continuing education for nurses and CS/SPD techs, as we understand that ongoing education, training and mentoring are critical to the success of any clinical department. These CE opportunities are offered at both national and local trade shows, as well as right on our website www.ruhof.com/pages/education.
Q: What is most important to you about the way you do business?
A: At Ruhof, we understand the importance of cleanliness in the health care ﬁeld and are guided by our commitment to excellence. We demonstrate this by offering reliable solutions and individualized service to help health care facilities meet and exceed their decontamination and infection prevention challenges. We are always ﬁnding new solutions and new ways to help ﬁght HAIs and to provide a safe work environment for patient and staff. We value our customers as much as the patients that they care for.