In the United States alone, there are approximately 46 million medical procedures conducted in hospitals and around 53 million nonsurgical and surgical outpatient procedures annually.
A minimum of 10 million gastrointestinal endoscopy procedures are performed yearly, and these involve the use of surgical or medical instruments that come in contact with patients’ sterile mucous membranes or tissues. One of the biggest risks of undergoing these procedures is potentially acquiring an HAI or healthcare-associated infection.
Why Sterilization and Disinfection are Critical
Failing to properly sterilize or disinfect medical equipment with the right sterilization products and methods will not only affect the patient, but also other people through transmission, and pathogen transmission that can potentially contaminate the entire hospital. Take a look at the facts below from InfectionControlProducts.com to see how crucial sterilization products and disinfection is to hospital environments.
- The WHO or World Health Organization reports that over 1.4 million people around the world are infected by various HAIs in hospitals at any given time.
- The CDC or Centers for Disease Control reports that an estimated 1.7 million HAIs occur yearly in the U.S. alone, and are linked to as much as 100,000 deaths annually.
- About 5% to 10% of patients staying at modern hospitals still get affected by HAIs.
- HAIs are also a critical issue in extended care facilities, such as rehab units and nursing homes.
- The transmission of HAIs pathogens oftentimes occurs through the hands of the healthcare workforce, who unintentionally get their hands contaminated during activities involving patient care.
- Sometimes, the contaminated surfaces in hospitals and other healthcare institutions can potentially contribute to the HAIs pathogens’ propagation. These surfaces can contaminate worker’s hands, and in other cases, patients may get contaminated through direct contact with surfaces and equipment that are contaminated.
What All These Mean
Accomplishing sterilization and disinfection by using disinfectant and sterilization products, as well as following the best practices, is crucial to make sure that surfaces and surgical and medical equipment won’t spread HAIs to patients. Also, since it’s needless to actually sterilize and disinfect each and every item used for patient care, guidelines should determine if cleaning, sterilization or disinfection is required according to the intended use of the items. Nonetheless, it is evident that proper cleaning, sterilization, and disinfection can significantly affect patient outcomes and save people’s lives.