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.
Even with antimicrobial properties, standard manual cleaning will remain, despite its challenges. Various quality assurance products are available for infection preventionist to double check procedures, but Warwick Spencer, critical care business manager at Contec, says the biggest challenge is to develop standardized and repeatable procedures. Single-use cleaning tools have also been recommended.
Dr. J. Hudson Garrett Jr., vice president of clinical affairs at PDI, agreed and said superbug outbreaks have highlighted the importance of thorough cleaning. This eagerness to learn has resulted in questions about the kill rate of microorganisms. “It is important to note that it would be impossible for disinfectants to have registered efficacy claims for every single microorganism that is problematic in healthcare settings,” Garrett explained. “Manufacturers carefully select the isolates for efficacy claims based on the available data from sources such as the CDC.”
In today’s market, a conversation about surface disinfection would not be complete without ultraviolet disinfection systems. Peer-reviewed studies on these systems have demonstrated HAI reduction in conjunction with standard cleaning. “The data shows that the more rooms a hospital is able to disinfect, the greater their infection rate reduction will be,” Dr. Mark Stibich, chief scientific officer and co-founder of Xenex, said. “That means more lives saved and less suffering, which is tremendously rewarding.”
HAI reductions could also offer financial incentives for facilities as reimbursement plans change. “As a greater focus is put on healthcare facilities to ensure a safer and cleaner environment, more leaders are looking at how to document their operations and prove success,” Chuck Dunn, with Tru-D, said. Some systems incorporate data logging systems that offer information on turnover time and workflow.
Cost still seems to be the biggest barrier, and Dennis Boyle, executive vice president of global sales at Spectra254, understands. “Facilities are trying to provide more care to more patients with fewer resources, so they are seeking tools that require little maintenance, little to no follow-up training and a warranty, plus a reasonable price,” he said.
This article was featured in the November/ December 2015 issue of Surgical Products. To see the complete issue, click HERE.