January 20, 2015
Wakefield, Mass. (PRWEB) January 20, 2015
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), many of which are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, impact one in 25 patients – approximately 722,000 people – in the U.S. each year*. Due to efforts by the CDC and other world health organizations, the dangers of HAIs are well known and some progress has been made to combat these preventable infections. Despite recent drops in HAIs, much more has to be done to eliminate them completely. According to Sciessent, the leading provider of antimicrobial solutions, organizations are thinking more broadly about infection-control strategies and incorporating embedded antimicrobials to minimize and ultimately eliminate HAI risks.
The stakes have never been higher for health systems to prevent HAIs, not only for patient safety, but to avoid Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions that penalize hospitals with high infection rates. Most recently, CMS named 724 hospitals with the highest HAI rates, all of which will have Medicare payments cut by 1 percent this year. In order to significantly reduce HAIs and combat the increased threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, healthcare organizations have to adopt a broad, vigilant infection-control strategy that includes implementing infection-prevention guidelines, changing staff behavior and adopting antimicrobial-treated medical devices.
Protect the Surface, Protect the Patient
Of the hundreds of thousands of patients who suffer from HAIs each year, 75,000 die – a number far too high for infections that can be prevented*. Many forms of HAIs are transmitted through surgical sites and devices such as catheters, ventilators and implants. When incorporated into an infection-control plan, antimicrobial-treated medical devices play a key role in HAI elimination.
“Medical devices in the healthcare setting, from catheters to patient-monitoring devices, serve as transfer sites and breeding grounds for microorganisms, so it’s easy to see how they are a major cause of HAIs,” said Lise Moloney, director of business development, healthcare, Sciessent. “If the surfaces of these devices can be protected against microorganisms, which in turn could limit patient exposure to them, the problem is solved – and embedded antimicrobials do just that. Today’s antimicrobials are proven to be effective against a broad spectrum of microorganisms, including drug-resistant strains.”
Antimicrobials to Protect and Improve the Bottom Line
If patient safety alone isn’t enough for hospitals to aggressively combat HAIs, the ACA contains provisions that financially penalize healthcare facilities with high HAI rates. In addition, many states have legislation that mandates public reporting of HAIs, which can and has impacted patient decisions. Healthcare consumers are increasingly researching hospital statistics and using tools like Medicare’s “Hospital Compare” to make more informed decisions about where to go for quality care.
“With increased regulation and more consumer choices than ever before, the financial implications for hospitals with high rates of HAIs can be detrimental,” said Moloney. “A large number of health systems are implementing embedded antimicrobials throughout the healthcare setting as part of their comprehensive infection-prevention plan to eliminate HAIs. While patient safety is always the top priority, healthcare is also a business and antimicrobials help to ensure quality of care, which is the biggest impact on the bottom line.”
Sciessent’s line of antimicrobial technology is based on silver and copper – two of the most highly effective antimicrobial agents. With medical devices containing its antimicrobials approved by the FDA, and clinical data to back their performance, the company’s technology works on the surface of products through the controlled release of elemental ions, which attack microbes and inhibit their growth. For more information, visit https://www.sciessent.com.
About Sciessent LLC
Sciessent is a leading provider of customized antimicrobial solutions that enhance the value of customers’ products. Agion antimicrobial solutions from Sciessent have been incorporated into a wide range of healthcare, industrial and consumer applications, including medical devices such as central-venous catheters and IV access ports, drinking-water applications like water filters and ice-making equipment, and textiles and apparel. The company’s brands include Agion, Agion Active and Sciessent Lava and are based on naturally occurring elements. Sciessent customers include leading international brands including Vygon, Medegen, Scotsman, Everpure, Follett, Honeywell, UnderArmour, Adidas, Reebok and Skechers.
*CDC, Healthcare-Associated Infections Data and Statistics, http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/surveillance/