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Beware! Antibiotic-Resistant Infections – 5 Combative Trends In Antimicrobial Medical Device Design

July 21, 2016

Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

In the U.S., an average of two million people become ill with antibiotic-resistant infections each year, many of which have high mortality rates.

On top of that startling statistic, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provisions that financially penalize facilities with high infection rates, and increasingly informed, connected healthcare consumers are using tools like Medicare’s Hospital Compare to make decisions about where to go for quality care.

All of these factors have forced healthcare providers to put pressure on medical device manufacturers and other suppliers to share in the responsibility. Some of the country’s largest health systems are also embarking on pay-for-performance contracts, which significantly impact how (and if) a supplier is paid based on how well its products work.

These shifts in healthcare have essentially changed the suppliers’ role in the industry – especially when it comes to infection prevention. And, they’ve greatly impacted how both providers and suppliers think about the use of antimicrobials. Let’s review, at the year’s halfway point, some of the biggest ongoing antimicrobial-related trends.

1. Designing For Infection Prevention

Traditionally, the onus of infection prevention has fallen on hospitals. But with the shifting of responsibility within healthcare, medical device manufactures have an increasingly critical role to play – especially since devices are a major source of infection. While many manufacturers have found ways to incorporate antimicrobials into the surfaces of already-designed medical devices, which adds another layer of protection for patients, even more is being done now.

This year, manufacturers have started to employ infection-prevention strategies much earlier in the product lifecycle. While designing for infection prevention is not a new concept in facility design, it’s fairly new to device design. To play their part in improving patient care, device manufacturers are:

  • Better educating design teams on the infection risks associated with products.
  • Experimenting with the design of easy-to-clean devices and components, including smoother surfaces, curved corners, and fewer crevices.
  • Incorporating more active surfaces (which perform a function) vs. passive surfaces (which promote bacterial attachment).
  • Considering disposable options for reusable devices.

Responsibility also is falling on material suppliers, who traditionally offer materials in bulk, to provide smaller quantities of polymer compounds to facilitate easier and faster infection-prevention R&D for designers.

2. Antimicrobials And Permanent Implants

While the healthcare industry has recognized the infection risk of permanent implants for some time, it’s taken a while for manufacturers to find the right technologies and gain the regulatory approvals for these types of devices.

Read Full Article – Source: 5 Antimicrobial-Related Trends In Medical Device Design

By Lise Moloney, Sciessent

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