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Infection Control Homepage

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Hospital bed manufacturers put the focus on infection control

by Lisa Chamoff , Contributing Reporter
From the February 2015 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

“The acquisition of CHG aligns with Stryker’s commitment to offering products that enhance the quality of care for both patients and health care professionals; in this case, aiding in the prevention of patient-related injuries resulting from a fall from a hospital bed,” Timothy Scannell, group president for medical surgery and neuro-technology at Stryker, said in a press release announcing the acquisition. “This acquisition will bolster Stryker Medical’s bed offerings and allow us to offer additional solutions to our customers.”

Keeping clean with copper
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Infection control goes beyond the mattress. Copper BioHealth, a Chile-based startup that launched in 2013, has replaced the standard plastic-coated bed rails with rails made of copper, an anti-microbial element, on 150 beds in four Chilean hospitals, according to an NPR report late last year.

Andrea Cabello Cordero, business development coordinator for Copper BioHealth, says that while copper bedrails are more expensive than regular bed rails, the investment is worth it. The company’s bed rails cost between $890 and $1,370. Cordero compares that to a set of bed rails for electric Hill-Rom beds that cost $1,000 in Chile.

“It’s a fact that the bedrails are the most polluted surfaces in rooms of hospitals and clinics, which are cleaned between two to four times a day with various chemicals,” Cordero says. “That’s why we are focusing on this specific product. Antimicrobial copper bedrails reduce by 90 percent the microbial load on the surface, therefore the cost of investing in copper bedrails pays, not only decreasing infections … but also decreases the use of disinfectants and the impact of this on the environment.”

The company hasn’t yet assessed the impact of those copper railings in the Chilean hospitals. However, a 2013 study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology looked at three U.S. hospitals, including the Medical University of South Carolina, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center that used patient rooms where items such as bedrails, tables, IV poles, and nurse’s call buttons were made of copper-based materials. The study found that the proportion of patients that developed a health care-acquired infection was 3.4 percent in the copper-outfitted rooms, versus 8.1 percent in regular rooms.

Cordero says the company’s business strategy is to commercialize antimicrobial copper bedrails, designed and manufactured in Chile, through a leasing model and an associated maintenance service.
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