Improving Patient Safety AND Reducing Clinical Costs

Reduced Microbial Bioburden = Improved Patient Safety

Reducing microbial bioburden on frequently-touched clinical surfaces is now recognised as fundamental to improving patient safety.
Healthcare-Associated Infections (HCAIs) are still prevalent in healthcare; Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is making the situation worse.

Strategic use of effective antimicrobial materials, as an adjunct to cleaning and hand hygiene, is proven effective – not only at reducing microbial bioburden on clinical touch surfaces – but also at reducing the infection risk to patients.

Less microbial bioburden on copper items in clinical settings (Salgado, 2013)
 
Recent research into antimicrobial efficacy under typical dry usage conditions shows a massive difference between products currently available on the market.

There is a wealth of robust evidence, spanning over 35 years, supporting the use of clinical touch-surface items made from Antimicrobial Copper alloys.
Making clinical touch surfaces from copper & copper alloys gives rapid and continuous reduction of microbial bioburden, and reduces the infection risk to patients and staff.

 

 

Helping To Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance
But that is not all – further research shows that copper has a role to play in helping to reduce the spread of AMR.

Horizontal Gene Transfer, a key element of AMR spread and development, takes place on standard clinical touch surfaces, but not on copper.

Installing Antimicrobial Copper – and thereby lowering HCAI rates – will also help to reduce antibiotic prescription levels.

 

 

Cost-Benefit Analysis: Astounding Results Indicated
Prevention of HCAIs in the first place is better, cheaper, and more ethical than trying to treat them.
Research by York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC) indicates very rapid initial payback plus significant long-term savings from installing copper touch surfaces.

 

Cleaning 
Most commonly-used clinical disinfectants are compatible with copper materials, when used in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines.

“Routine cleaning to remove dirt and soil is necessary for good sanitation and to assure the effective antimicrobial performance of the Antimicrobial Copper alloy surface. Cleaning agents typically used for traditional touching surfaces are permissible; the appropriate cleaning agent depends on the type of soiling and the measure of sanitisation required. Normal oxidation or wear of Antimicrobial Copper surfaces will not impair the antimicrobial effectiveness of the product.”

 

Feedback From Early Adopters
Feedback from the several sites around the world that have installed Antimicrobial Copper is positive.

At Grinnell Regional Medical Center in the US, post-installation assessment shows that the copper surfaces maintain ‘terminal clean’ levels of microbial bioburden even in ‘closed’ hospital rooms: http://www.antimicrobialcopper.org/uk/news/antimicrobial-copper-surfaces-maintain-terminal-clean-levels-hospitals

 

Recognition in design guidelines and healthcare ratings systems
The benefits of strategic use of antimicrobial copper touch surfaces have been recognised in healthcare design guidelines and quality assessment systems around the world.

These include:
  • Health Protection Scotland, 2017
  • ECRI Institute: Top 10 Technology Watch List for the Hospital C-Suite, 2014
  • CNESH: Canadian Network for Environmental Scanning in Health, 2014
  • AHRQ: US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2013
  • CMJ: Polish National Centre for Quality Assessment in Healthcare, 2016
  • EPIC3: NHS England NICE-accredited guidelines, 2014
  • Finnish Building Information Foundation Indoor Hygiene, 2017
  • International WELL Building Standard™, 2016
  • IGBC: Indian Green Building Council – Healthcare Facilities Rating System Guidelines, Pilot Version, 2016
Conclusion

Healthcare providers are under pressure to improve efficiency, resilience to seasonal challenges (such as ‘flu and norovirus) and to reduce their antibiotic prescription levels.

A robust body of evidence shows that strategic use of Antimicrobial Copper – a simple intervention – offers significant and long-term benefits for patients and healthcare providers alike.

Strategic use of clinical touch-surface items made from Antimicrobial Copper has been proven to be an effective supplement to infection control – with dramatic results shown by laboratory testing and clinical trials – without the need to change behaviour of healthcare workers, cleaning staff or patients.

Reducing infections will improve patient safety – this is one of the five strategic objectives in the WHO Global Action Plan for tackling Antimicrobial Resistance.

Achieving clinical cost-savings and freeing-up beds is a fundamental part of improving healthcare efficiency. The YHEC research provides a strong business case for Antimicrobial Copper. This constitutes a simple measure for healthcare providers to improve their overall performance, their finances and their reputation; with wider social and economic benefits.

 

The wide range of Antimicrobial Copper alloys available – all approved by the US EPA as able to make public health benefit claims relating to touch surfaces under typical usage conditions – means that products made from them do not even have to look like copper or brass. Some of the alloys are practically indistinguishable from stainless steel, yet have proven antimicrobial efficacy.
Resources for you
Antimicrobial Copper Presentation (pdf)

 

Further information is freely available, via the Antimicrobial Copper website www.antimicrobialcopper.org for scientific data & evidence.

There is also a GoogleDrive folder (which also contains product information) that you can access via our products & resources page

 

We hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.