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By Thom Wellington
From the May 2017 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

You may be wondering why this publication has allowed a column specifically focused on health care-associated infections (HAIs) while so many changes are occurring in health care.

Unfortunately, there are a few powerful forces that have collided over one specific spot that makes this focus on HAIs significant. With the continued rise in multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), an aging population, CMS payment penalties for HAIs and a sincere focus on quality outcomes by everyone — this is the market to watch. According to market research, the global infection control market is estimated to grow at an annual compounded rate of 6.5 percent from 2016 to 2021 to reach $17.78 billion by 2021.

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Consequently, new products are quickly entering the infection prevention space. Large companies such as 3M and Johnson & Johnson, among others, have researchers aiming to satisfy. Many new startups are also trying to compete for solutions in this space. I have picked five products that are focused on safety improvement, but might not otherwise be so visible. The products selected are to demonstrate the diverse growth in the infection control market and to get you thinking from different angles on possible safety solutions.

Endoscopy storage cabinets
With all the recent infections related to endoscopes, the focus has been on cleaning these important instruments. However, storing these instruments is just as important. It makes sense to store scopes in a proper and safe setting, but far too often I observe endoscopes hung on fiber pegboards or in storage closet areas that are not appropriate. Allowing the scopes to properly dry and remain safe means placing them in a clean, controlled environment, allowing them to hang straight as well as not touch another scope. Metal is preferred for the cabinet since metal is non-absorbent and not a nutrient for fungi. Cabinets with the proper design can play an important role in preventing an infection.

Innovation in paint
One of the last things infection preventionists think about is the paint on the walls in patient areas. And Sherwin-Williams made sure to be ahead of its competitors. This 150-year-old paint manufacturer has been innovating since its inception with quality products that reduce VOCs and its newest product, Paint Shield, is no exception. Paint Shield has been engineered to kill several forms of bacteria in the hospital or long-term care setting. The paint coating markets itself as “capable of killing Enterococcus (VRE), Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and E. coli.”
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