Anyone surveying the evolving demands on the current healthcare landscape is likely to agree that it can be dizzying, especially for the device manufacturers striving to meet the needs of practitioners. It can’t be simply about products any longer. As companies enhance lines to satisfy demand, they need to be more comprehensive in their thinking.
“There are a lot of things that have happened within the healthcare system over the past few years that have driven manufacturers like us to develop new solutions that meet our customers’ evolving needs,” says Randy Schwartz, VP of marketing for the wound care division of Mölnlycke. “The industry is undergoing so much change, including regulatory, reimbursement, how hospitals are staffed and consolidation. These changes have driven Mölnlycke to look for innovations and solutions that help our customers meet these challenges.”
There are few companies with a more robust legacy than Mölnlycke. The Swedish healthcare manufacturer can point to an establishment date in the 19th century, when it began by providing gauze and other medical textiles.
Although plenty of advancements have been made to its foundational products over the years — including the relatively recent Safetac technology, which allows for removal of a dressing without pain or additional damage, even with severely damaged skin — the real strength of Mölnlycke is the breadth of its commitment to providing advanced solutions for patient care.
“One fantastic thing about Mölnlycke as a company is that we’re always looking to innovate, we’re always pushing the borders,” attests Al Concemi, VP of marketing for Mölnlycke’s surgical business. “A lot of our products are market leaders, either first or second position in market share. But we’re not resting on that.”
Concemi notes the launch of approximately a dozen new products across the wound care and surgical lines, stressing the array of innovations as indicative of a highly patient-focused ethos.
“We never forget that there is a human being who is being treated,” says Concemi. “That really drives us. It’s the patient at heart. It’s a core value of ours that we put into work every day, by all of our employees, no matter what their role is in the organization.”
In the current atmosphere, keying in on patient safety almost automatically means a sharp focus on reducing healthcare-associated infections.
Mölnlycke has the leader in developing solutions with robust clinical and health economic evidence in preventing pressure ulcers, an outcome that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) considers a never event.
“Many pressure ulcers start in the hospital and can be traced back to the OR,” Schwartz points out. “They can form in as little as two hours, and patients lying prone or on their back without movement for even this short time period are very susceptible unless the hospital takes preventive measures. So if a deep pressure ulcer occurs, CMS will limit treatment costs because they are deemed preventable.”
“It is estimated that pressure ulcers alone cost the healthcare system between $9 and 11 billion annually,” he says. “Approximately 60,000 people die every year from complications due to pressure ulcers. We’re looking for any way we can to lower this risk.”
Broken down to individual healthcare facilities, the numbers remain daunting. Schwartz indicates a deep pressure ulcer can cost a hospital up to $75,000 to heal, and that’s before any potential litigation is factored into the overall expense.
Schwartz notes Mölnlycke has developed a number of solutions designed to minimize the risk of pressure ulcer development in surgery.
“One of our solutions is Mepilex Border Sacrum, which is the only dressing on the market proven — in 4 large randomized controlled trials and dozens of quality improvement projects — to help prevent pressure ulcers,” he says. “The dressing costs approximately $8.00. It’s kind of no-brainer — a little ounce of prevention.”
Minimizing risk and bringing down readmission numbers are equally crucial in today’s healthcare environment, especially since patients are being sent home earlier to rehab and convalesce. In healthcare, there’s a newly intensified dedication to making sure the entire recovery process goes as smoothly as possible.
“Today, knee and hip replacements are routine, with many performed as outpatient surgeries,” Schwartz says. “The post-op period is crucial. Patients need to ambulate without fear of disturbing or interfering with the incision’s healing process. Patients also want to shower and get back to a normal life as quickly as possible. Our new Mepilex Border Post-Op Ag is designed to help protect the wound while allowing for flexibility of the knee to facilitate rehabilitation. It can also remain in place while the patient showers.”
Although there’s a mounting array of risks to worry about, Mölnlycke is trying to lessen the stress for healthcare professionals. When the manufacturer develops solution advances, ease of use, comfort, and health economic concerns are chief considerations.
As a company, Mölnlycke is a strong voice in the rising chorus of advocacy for the practice of double-gloving. And there’s an awareness products have to be developed correctly to encourage surgeons and other healthcare professionals to adopt the approach without feeling as if they’ve made undue compromises.
“Often, especially for surgeons, there’s a concern about losing tactile sensitivity, the ability to feel; their hands are the tools that really help them practice their craft,” says Concemi. “Over the past few years, we have introduced thinner gloves, so that when used in combination for a double gloving puncture indication system, 85 percent of those users that we’ve surveyed have not been able to notice a difference between a single glove and using our new PI micro family of double gloves.”
For Concemi, this sensitivity of the gloves is about more than delivering comfort. The feature helps the surgeons put their attention where it’s most needed.
“We don’t want them to be consciously thinking about their gloves,” he explains. “They have much more important things to be concerned with. By providing high-tech gloves that perform well, we’re able to create that seamless experience for them so that they can focus on the outcome for their patient. This is certainly something that can have a significant impact on outcomes.”
Of course, positive patient outcomes are the ultimate goal shared by both manufacturers and practitioners. Mölnlycke is providing everything it can to help healthcare professionals deliver that coveted conclusion.