ECRI Institute Lists Antimicrobial Copper as a Top 10 Technology to Watch in 2014

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A U.S. based non-profit health organization dedicated to researching the best approaches to patient care has listed antimicrobial copper as one of the top 10 technologies to watch in its 2014 Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List. Copper earned this distinction from the ECRI Institute less than one year after a groundbreaking study found that copper kills bacteria and reduces infections. The report was published this month.

ECRI Institute has been evaluating the safety, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of health technologies for more than 45 years. The 2014 Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List serves as a reference guide for both hospital leaders and the public on upcoming noteworthy health technologies or health systems issues each year. It is available to them as a service, free of cost.

"With this Watch List, healthcare leaders can learn more about potential game changers and use it as guidance when devising strategic growth plans for their facilities," says Robert Maliff in a recent press release issued by the ECRI Institute. Maliff serves as the director of applied solutions for the organization.

While copper's antimicrobial properties have been known for thousands of years, recent research piloted by the Copper Development Association (CDA) and funded by the Department of Defense proved that surfaces made from antimicrobial copper alloys like brass and bronze had 83 percent fewer bacteria on average compared to surfaces made from traditional materials.

"Our research shows how important Antimicrobial Copper can be when it comes to increasing patient safety," says Wilton Moran, project engineer at CDA. "These surfaces don't rely on human behavior—they serve as an extra layer of protection, constantly working in the background to fight bacteria in between routine cleanings."

A 2013 study published in the journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology revealed that the use of antimicrobial copper surfaces in hospital rooms reduced the number of healthcare-associated infections in the ICU by 58 percent. The study also found that antimicrobial copper surfaces destroy strains of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, including the superbugs MRSA and VRE.

The List notes "Antimicrobial Copper is the only hospital touch surface with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) public health registration, allowing manufacturers to claim that copper surfaces can kill specific bacteria…that cause infections and pose a threat to human health." There are many antimicrobial copper alloy options available spanning a range of colors and engineering properties. EPA-registered antimicrobial copper alloys can be incorporated into a wide variety of components, including: Bedrails, handrails, door handles, grab bars, IV poles, trays and carts, sinks and faucets, lavatory components, work surfaces, computer keyboards, equipment adjustment knobs, call buttons, face plates and more.

ECRI Institute's 2014 Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List is available for download at: www.ecri.org/2014watchlist (registration required).

Source: Copper Development Association

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