IRVING, Texas -- Recently, Novation, a healthcare contracting services company, conducted a reusable sharps container survey to capture thoughts regarding the containers. Members from VHA Inc. and University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) participated in the survey, including materials managers, facilities executives, infection control, medical/surgical nurses and risk management officers. The survey revealed a sharp contrast to the results of its 2006 survey. Of the respondents, fully 60 percent reported that they believe the product is safe, compared to only 38 percent in 2006.
“Dispelling the “ick-Factor” of reusable sharps containers has been an educational focus of Novation since our last survey in 2006,” said Jay DeLuca, Novation vice president contract and program services, med/surg distribution contracts. “We used a wide mix of channels to effect change regarding this product, and this year’s survey shows that our time and energy to educate our members on the benefits of this product worked.”
Survey highlights include:
· Only eight percent of respondents feel sharps containers are not safe. In 2006, 23 percent said the same. The “I Don’t Know” category remained virtually the same.
· Cleanliness of the product is the No. 1 reason why respondents do not feel the product is safe.
· Infection control, employee health and safety and nursing staff are the top three influencers for switching to reusable sharps containers.
· Disposal costs, container compliance with OSHA/NIOSH/CDC standards, and pick-up/ storage/disposal service are the top economic factors that influence container usage. This was the same in 2006.
· Product safety and product quality were ranked by both UHC and VHA as important in the selection of reusable sharps containers. VHA members ranked complying with OSHA/NIOSH/CDC standards as most important, while UHC members ranked system offers recycling/reuse/waste reduction as most important.
· Respondents said that the product offers positive impact on several factors: patient care, infection control, healthcare worker safety, and reducing costs and environmental sustainability. All of these categories moved to yes or neutral since the 2006 survey.
· 51 percent of current disposable sharps containers users would consider switching to a reusable product if it was part of the facility’s environmental sustainability initiatives.
· Reducing costs is the No. 1 reason for those currently using reusable containers. Those that do not use reusable containers said environmental factors would be the number one reason to switch.
“Over the past two years, Novation has seen an increase in reusable sharps container sales of more than 40 percent,” said DeLuca. “Strong sales growth is being driven by the increasing clinical acceptability of the product and the environmental and cost savings benefits of reusable sharps containers, which is clearly reflected in the survey.”