Key Role of Hand Hygiene in Infection Control to Spur Wider Adoption, New Report Says

After the booming sales of hand hygiene products in 2008-2009, volume sales plummeted in 2009-2010, before gradually recovering. The hand hygiene market has expanded to include hand hygiene compliance monitoring technologies that, while still at a nascent stage, offer promising growth opportunities for companies in the infection control industry.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, "Hand Hygiene Champions the Cause of Infection Control," finds that the Western European hand hygiene market earned revenue of $271.3 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach $446.9 million in 2017.

"Outbreaks such as enterohaemorrhagic e. coli (EHEC) continue to highlight the importance of hand hygiene in containing infectious diseases," notes Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Beulah Devadason. "The threat of mutated viral strains and increasing antimicrobial-resistant infections has underlined the need for infection control."

The World Health Organization (WHO) regards hand hygiene as an essential tool for the prevention of nosocomial infections. Improved compliance in hand hygiene, with the proper use of alcohol-based handrubs, can reduce nosocomial infection rates by approximately 40 percent. Therefore, the need for reduction in the incidence of nosocomial infections is a major driver in the growth of the hand hygiene market.

However, according to the report, market penetration will not be easily achievable as the onus of proving the efficacy of the product in preventing healthcare-associated infections (HCIs) and providing ultimate cost savings for healthcare institutions lies with the manufacturers.

"Hand hygiene compliance has never been 100 percent," Devadason says. "This, together with the fact that hand hygiene compliance monitoring as well as HAI incidence reporting is yet to be standardized across the EU, is making it difficult for manufacturers to prove the quantifiable return on investment for an effective hand hygiene program."

The integration of hand hygiene compliance monitoring technologies, with the use of automated and manual dispensers in the next five to seven years, will aid market growth as the value of infection prevention is increasingly being recognized by government and hospital management authorities.

The report says that hand hygiene product manufacturers need to integrate hand hygiene compliance monitoring technologies with their existing product lines. This will not only be important to gain market share but also to establish the brand as a complete solutions provider in the infection control industry.

"The right combination of effective products, compliance monitoring solutions and awareness initiatives will guarantee strong revenue growth, while providing optimal value to patients and healthcare institutions," Devadason adds. 

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