The numbers are dropped casually in conversation, but the implications are huge. One in 25 United States patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI). Every year, there are about 722,000 reported HAI cases in acute care hospitals. Of those, about 157,500 are surgical site infections (SSIs). These numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the more modest statistics available, yet still frightening.
Efforts to control HAIs and SSIs have resulted in a flood of infection prevention products, countless studies and stricter practices. Budgets for 2016 are already rolling out, and these infection control innovations are starting to appear. Suppliers predict all of them will be universally accepted technologies in years to come.
Not much is new in patient skin preparation, but problems persist. “While topical skin antisepsis products have been available for more than 30 years, healthcare professionals find the nuances of application continue to be an opportunity for education. For instance, a study presented in 2014 found that topical antiseptic skin preparations were applied according to label directions only 63 percent of the time,” Mora Thompson, with CareFusion, said.
Kimberly Prinsen, RN, MSN, technical service specialist at 3M Infection Prevention, agreed. “It is critical that preps are applied according to manufacturer’s instructions for use in order to achieve efficacy,” she said. “For example, if the instructions stipulate a scrub is required for a specific period of time and the applier only paints it on, then the product might not achieve the level of bacterial kill needed prior to the incision.”
Patient preparation goes quick, but suppliers agree taking time to correctly identify how to apply antisepsis products and apply them correctly every time helps prevent SSIs. “Healthcare facilities and hospitals are under greater pressure than ever, particularly under the Affordable Care Act, to reduce costs and improve patient care,” Thompson said. “Standardizing infection control practices and being mindful of application technique for every patient can improve patient care.”
This article was featured in the November/ December 2015 issue of Surgical Products. To see the complete issue, click HERE.