According to the CDC, in any given day, one in 31 hospital patients will contract at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI). Healthcare-associated infections are infections that patients acquire in a clinical setting, while receiving medical care for another condition. HAIs most commonly transfer from one patient to another because the medical tools used on the first patient were not properly sanitized and disinfected before being used on a second patient. Several critical steps must be taken when working with medical devices, especially reusable devices that are used on multiple patients, in order to prevent the spread of HAIs.

In addition to risking a patient’s health and well-being, hospitals will face severe penalties if they expose patients to hospital-acquired conditions. In 2017, more than 22% of hospitals that were evaluated were penalized by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services because patients developed an HAI at their facility. OBP Medical released an article titled Updates on Medicare Penalties for Hospital-Acquired Conditions explaining the types of infections that are commonly spread in hospitals (e.g., C. diff, pneumonia, MRSA), as well as the penalties associated with such HAIs. When working in this type of environment, it is imperative that every step is taken in order to ensure that patients receive the best and safest care possible.

Staff must sterilize and disinfect all reusable medical devices after each use to aid in the prevention of infection transfer. Although proper cleaning can help, there is an even better way to prevent the spread of HAIs. In lieu of cleaning and disinfecting reusable medical instruments, healthcare facilities can make the switch to disposable medical devices instead. Single-patient medical devices virtually eliminate the spread of healthcare-associated infections because they are used one time, with one patient, and then the device is discarded. They will only reduce the risk if used correctly, so it is crucial that they are used exactly as directed – meaning that it should be used only once, with only one patient, and then discarded immediately after use. Disposable medical devices can aid in making hospitals a safer place for patients, while also eliminating the risk for HAI-related penalties.

There are certain devices, such as disposable thermometers, that can be extremely helpful when it comes to preventing healthcare-associated infections. Medical Indicators understands how important it is for doctors, nurses and patients to use a product that is both safe and accurate. Medical Indicators’ disposable thermometers, including NexTemp®, Tempa•DOT®, and TraxIt®,  provide highly-accurate readings, while also eliminating the risk of exposure to healthcare-associated infections.

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