Nonwovens Confront the HAI Challenge

By Tim Wright, editor | May 12, 2014

Each year around the world patients seek medical care at inpatient and outpatient facilities, but emerge from routine, urgent or surgical care with an additional—and sometimes untreatable—life-threatening illness.

At any one time it’s estimated that 1.5 million people in the world are suffering from a hospital acquired infection (HAI).

In fact, on an average day in the U.S., 1 in 25 patients has at least one infection contracted from a hospital visit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). World Health Organization (WHO) data further suggests that one in 10 patients in a developing country risk being harmed one way or another in the process of receiving medical treatment.

It’s sad to say that roughly 440,000 Americans are killed by hospital infections every year, making it the third largest killer after heart disease and cancer. In addition, recent research has found hospital infections cost the U.S. nearly $10 billion each year.

Consumer Reports recently studied 2,600 U.S. hospitals based on several safety criteria, including the incidents of hospital acquired infections. “Even if you’re at the best hospital in the world, mistakes can happen,” says Doris Peter, who spearheaded the project at Consumer Reports.

The findings revealed that, in general, urban hospitals fare worse than their suburban counterparts.

The CDC also released a report to sound an alarm on HAIs. The report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is based on a 2011 survey of 183 hospitals in 10 states. In that year alone, there were approximately 721,800 infections in 648,000 patients. The report found the most common healthcare-associated infections were pneumonia, surgical site infections and gastrointestinal infections.

Typically, these infections are a result of unhygienic practices at medical facilities and more often than not experts say these infections could easily be prevented. Some facilities have changed procedures to eliminate their infection rate altogether.

To this end, nonwovens are playing a vital role on the front line fight against HAIs, and on May 22, 2014 10:30 am EST (US)/15:30 GMT, to help further shed light on the topic, Rodman Media Corp. will host a one hour webinar, “Disposable Medical Products and the HAI Challenge.”

Sponsored by ANDRITZ Nonwoven and RKW ACE, featured speakers include Dave Rousse, president of INDA, who will deliver, “Disposable Medical Products: Changing the Game in Hospital Acquired Infections,” and Helena Enqvist, president, Enqvist Consulting, who will speak on, “Development Trends in Disposable Medical Products.”

A new global report on the medical nonwoven disposables market released by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (GIA) says the market is projected to reach US$22.7 billion by 2020, driven by increasing awareness over the importance of health and hygiene, and growing emphasis on infection control in healthcare settings.

Nonwoven disposables have become one of the important constituents of healthcare industry with the product’s disposable attribute offering an edge over woven fabrics used in hospitals. Growth in the global market for medical nonwoven disposables will continue to be driven by factors such as increased focus on preventing HAIs, and improving healthcare infrastructure and services across developing countries.

The focus on infection control as a means to cut healthcare costs implies that hospitals and other healthcare facilities are looking at disposables as essentials moving forward. Please be sure to tune in to this important webinar topic.