Hospital Associated Infections (HAIs) are a major issue in Hospitals worldwide. In America about 1 out of 25 patients who stay in a hospital will develop a HAI. These infections cost insurers billions of dollars every year. As a result, insurers have decided that hospitals will not be reimbursed anymore for care related to HAIs. In order to encourage hospitals to install new standards for the prevention of HAIs, the US government has started “Hospital Compare”(http://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/) on the Medicare website. This website is designed to help Americans decide which hospital to use by comparing their rate of HAIs among other factors.
Hospitals now have a financial interest in the prevention of HAIs. The need for antimicrobial disposable and non-disposable materials (textile and nonwoven) will dramatically increase in the near future. The challenge for the industry will be to meet the new standards and provide materials that are still competitive. The main opportunity for the industry will be for materials used in the medical field such as surgical gowns and packs but the market for antimicrobial wipes and hygiene products will be also one of the main focuses for manufacturers.
From the point of view of chemical manufacturers in the textile and nonwoven markets, these new regulations open new prospects for antimicrobial agents as well as for agents that will help with the comfort and convenience of the medical staff and patients. Chemical manufacturers must develop antimicrobials that are effective against the main bugs present in hospitals such as clostridium difficile (C diff) and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus along with moisture management agents, fluids repellent and softener that will be compatible with the antimicrobial actives to provide convenience and comfort to the medical staff as well as patients.