Designing Products to Prevent Hospital Acquired Infections

Posted by Casey Cephas | 5/4/20 10:53 AM

The COVID-19 pandemic has swiftly and drastically changed the lives of millions of people around the world. It has also put a spotlight on the fragility of our healthcare system. In addition to implementing social distancing practices and adequate testing, a major concern is protecting patients and frontline medical professionals inside of healthcare facilities.

Impact of Hospital Acquired Infections

Even before COVID-19, hospital acquired infections (HAIs) has been a major health concern. Here are some frightening statistics from the CDC:

  • An estimated 1 in 31 hospital patients has an HAI
  • In 2015, there was an estimated 687,000 HAIs in U.S. acute care hospitals, and 72,000 deaths of patients due to infections contracted during their hospitalizations
  • HAIs cost the healthcare system billions of dollars in added expenses

So, what can we do? Of course, there is no quick fix or magic pill. However, medical device manufacturers can incorporate technology in their products that can help reduce HAIs.

Graphic Overlays or Membrane Switches with Microban® Technology

Medical devices with control panels can be touched by numerous staff members each day, which contributes to the spread of bacteria and viruses that cause HAIs.

One solution is to print graphic overlays or membrane switches on substrates featuring anti-microbial Microban technology. Microban is a plastic additive that inhibits microbial survival, reproduction, and colonization. While it is not a substitute for regular cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, Microban provides 24/7 protection for the lifetime of the product (it does not wear out or wash away). 

Printed Sterilization Indicators

Another cause of HAIs is contaminated surgical equipment or devices such as catheters or ventilators.

A method for ensuring sterilization in fast-paced and high-volume medical settings is incorporating printed indicators. Using functional inks that react to a specific environmental factor, printed indicators can provide visual confirmation of multiple sterilization processes, including radiation (gamma), ethylene oxide gas, or steam. The indicators are very simple and easy to read. For example, the color of the indicator may change from pink to brown after the presence of steam for sterilization.

There is a wide range of applications for sterilization printed indicators, including pouches, tags, strips, labels, packaging and more. A custom converter partner can also shape a printed indicator to your exact specifications.

Get started with medical device manufacturing.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it's that there's a critical need to reduce health risks for patients and medical professionals. As an experienced custom converter with materials expertise, Tapecon is here to help you design your products to prevent issues such as hospital acquired infections.

At Tapecon, we have over 100 years of experience helping customers solve their complex product challenges. Learn more about our membrane switch, graphic overlays, and printed indicators capabilities.

Topics: Manufacturing, Printing

Written by Casey Cephas

Casey is the Marketing Coordinator at Tapecon Inc.

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