As I said in my blog post about the medical application of SafeHandles products, “The hospital is a great place to go to get sick.” Mr. Kirkpatrick, in the abstract for his thesis, states that situation in more clinical terms: “Hospital acquired infections (HAIs) are becoming an issue of increasing importance within the medical field.” He goes on to reveal why: “The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that over 700,000 HAIs occurred during 2011, with approximately 75,000 deaths attributed or associated with these infections.” He further proposes a viable solution for this harrowing scenario: “passive disinfection methods that eliminate the need for frequent human intervention to reduce microbial levels on surfaces.” In laymen’s terms, that means using long-lasting anti-microbial agents that don’t require hospital staff to reapply them on a daily basis (scrubbing and/or wiping down surfaces with liquid antimicrobial agents). This is the very essence of the SafeHandles line of products. Kilpatrick’s study goes on to detail how and why those products work to drastically reduce the transmission of dangerous pathogens.
One of the determinations of Kirkpatrick’s laboratory study was that “the infection risk for K. pneumoniae following transfer of the organism to finger pads from non-treated stainless steel control carriers was 3 orders of magnitude greater than that following finger pad contamination from silver embedded carriers” – which is to say that embedded silver (a key ingredient of the SafeHandles antimicrobial payload) reduced the risk of contamination one thousand times.
One of the ironies revealed in preparing and implementing this study, is that without the antimicrobially-protected sink handles that SafeHandles sleeves can provide, the washing of hands can actually be a component in the matrix of pathogen transmission. It works like this: the sink drain becomes colonized with Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria, which grow up the drain into the sink; custodial staff rinsing and wiping down the sink spread the bacteria to the handles, where it migrates to the hands of staff and patients using those handles in the process of washing their hands. Regarding the efficacy of silver-embedded coating as a durable antimicrobial agent, Kirkpatrick concluded that “there are relatively large differences between the coated and uncoated carriers. At four and eight hours, there are three orders of magnitude [103 or 1,000x] difference in the Klebsiella population between the coated and non-coated handle populations. Organism: Klebsiella pneumoniae Uncoated handle [v.] Silver-coated handle.” All of that (and much, much more) to say that silver-embedded coating is a long-lasting anodyne for microbe transmission. The controls, variables, conditions, determination of means and probabilities calculated in the study can get one lost in the numbers, but the bottom line is that silver-embedded coatings work – and that is what SafeHandles offers.