Using medical technology to fight infection

Reduces suffering and cuts costs at the same time

Switzerland, with its 6% transmission rate, ranks midfield compared with other European levels of healthcare-associated infections. The need for improvement is clear, and all public healthcare actors must collaborate to fulfil the shared public health responsibility. On the occasion of the Patient Safety Action Week organised by the Patient Safety Foundation, Swiss Medtech would like to reaffirm the medical technology industry’s commitment to the prevention of infections. The national action week is intended to raise public awareness for this important topic and highlight the contribution of the many parties involved in advancing patient protection.

6% of patients contract an infection: Infections represent a high – but often avoidable – risk found in all healthcare facilities. Around six percent of patients develop such a contamination and unfortunately the Corona pandemic has further intensified the problem. «Today, medtech industry products and solutions already contribute significantly to the prevention, detection, monitoring, and treatment of these infections – not only preventing a great deal of suffering, but also helping to reduce costs,» says Peter Biedermann, Managing Director of Swiss Medtech.

Wound infections, blood poisoning, and antibiotic resistance are most frequent: Post-surgery wound infections and blood poisoning can develop during hospital stays – often with fatal consequences; the average hospital mortality rate associated with sepsis lies just under 17 percent. Following a medical intervention, the lungs and urinary tract are also at higher risk. Drug-resistant infections pose another common problem. In 2015 alone, 670,000 people in the EU contracted drug-resistant infections and 33,000 lost their lives as a result.

20% – 50% of infections are preventable: Studies show that, depending on the type, between 20 and 50 percent of infections in healthcare facilities could be avoided through targeted monitoring and prevention measures. Medical technology can also play a role here – by providing analytical, diagnostic, and process tools. Furthermore, disinfectants, sterile sets, and protective materials help reduce the risk of infection and contribute to safe and efficient procedures during operations and in patient care. Last but not least, reliable Corona tests can prevent transmission by quickly detecting SARS-CoV2 infections in staff, as well as in patients at time of admission.

Achieving more together: Swiss Medtech develops concepts to strengthen patient safety through collaboration with professional associations and partner organisations. The association supports the federal government's strategies for the monitoring, prevention, and control of healthcare-associated infections (NOSO Strategy), as well as the Swiss National Strategy against Antibiotic Resistance (StAR). Swiss Medtech is also committed to ensuring that international standards are incorporated when implementing binding guidelines on hospital hygiene and inhibiting resistance, and that the costs of preventing infectious diseases are adequately reflected in the remuneration system.

Swiss Medtech represents around 700 members in its role as industry association for Swiss medical technology. With 63,000 employees and a contribution of 16.4% to the positive trade balance, medical technology is an economically significant sector in Switzerland. Swiss Medtech advocates for conditions that enable the medtech industry to perform at peak capacity and provide first-class medical care.