There is currently a very large international focus on hospital-acquired infections, which can be associated with reusable medical devices that are difficult to clean, disinfect and sterilize. HAI’s are caused by viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens. The most common types are bloodstream infection (BSI), pneumonia, urinary tract infection (UTI), and surgical site infection (SSI).
The UK National Audit Office estimated that in 2004 the rate of HAI in the UK ran at 9%, including some 5000 deaths. The cost to the UK NHS is over €1.5 billion/£1 billion each year. They also compared the UK with other countries and found the rate of HAI to be between 4% and 10%1, and the incidences of HAI’s is increasing. There is a renewed, industry-wide focus on implementing methods to reduce these risks. One method for reducing rates of HAI’s is using single-use medical devices.
Single-use, or disposable, medical devices as those strictly intended for use on one patient during only one procedure. These devices should not be reprocessed and instead are properly disposed of immediately after use.
Single-use medical supplies are a reliable option for ensuring all devices are decontaminated. They can protect patients from developing life-threatening infections from cross-contamination or unsafe conditions during medical procedures and treatment regimens.
Single use medical devices simplify processes within hospitals. They eliminate the need for complicated guidelines setting out procedures for cleaning, sterilizing, checking functionality, labelling and tracking.2
Single use medical devices also make it possible to create innovative designs, which in turn lead to faster, more efficacious, and less risky procedures. In other words, single use medical devices provide treatment that would not otherwise be available.2
Often claims are made that waste generated by the disposal of single use devices could be considered as environmentally unfriendly. However, any analyses of the environmental impact of single use devices should also consider the significant resources (e.g. chemicals and packaging) needed and the energy consumed during the cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of devices.2
Ask GA2 Medical about reducing the risks or visit our website www.ga2medical.com to find out more about our range of single patient use and reusable medical devices and products.
Reference: 1 National Audit Office Report (HC 876, 2003-2004) Improving patient care by reducing the risk of Hospital Acquired Infections. http://web.nao.org.uk/search/search.aspx?Schema=&terms=HC+876,+20032004 (accessed 8th December 2009).
Reference: 2 Eucomed White Paper on the reuse of single use devices, December 15, 2009.