Upgrading key touch surfaces in healthcare facilities can yield payback of less than one year, according to the York Health Economics Consortium model.
While hand hygiene and environmental disinfection are two key pillars of infection control, additional measures are needed to combat the ever present threat of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). Interventions that improve patient outcomes will also reduce the associated number of additional patient-bed days, the cost of care and the use of antibiotics.
Copper's proven efficacy
The pathogens that cause HCAIs can survive in the environment for days, even months, providing reservoirs of infectious agents on frequently touched surfaces. Durable and effective antimicrobial copper surfaces offer an engineering solution which can serve as an additional line of defence against the pathogens that cause HCAIs. Copper-containing touch surfaces have been shown to significantly and continuously reduce mean bioburden by >90% in clinical trials in Chile, the UK and the US. The link between reduced bioburden on frequently touched surfaces and reduced infection rates has been shown in a Department of Defense-funded study in the US. In that study, replacing just six key touch surfaces in single room ICUs with copper-containing items led to a 58% reduction in infections.
Experience from installations
As the evidence behind copper has grown, installations are taking place around the world, predominantly in clinical settings where the most vulnerable patients are treated: ICUs, Cystic Fibrosis wards, Paediatric and Neonatal units. These installations have yielded data on the cost of antimicrobial copper components to establish a dataset of deployment costs.
York Health Economics Consortium, a global leader in healthcare-associated modelling, has developed a fully referenced cost-benefit model for hospital managers to illustrate the economic rationale of an antimicrobial copper intervention. Their model is based on the cost of implementing a copper touch surface installation and the balancing cost savings resulting from reduced
infection rates. The model, an xlsm file, can be downloaded from the link below, along with a user guide and a worked example. A recorded webinar takes the user through each step of the model and can be accessed from the User Guide Webcast link below.
The valuation of the total economic cost of HCAIs is difficult to calculate accurately and there is a dearth of comparable data in the public domain. This model uses referenced data to provide estimates of return on investment for installing a set of copper components as part of a new build or planned refurbishment. The model is populated with established datasets for UK rates and costs of HCAIs, cost of copper components and similar components without antimicrobial efficacy, but also allows users to enter their own, local data for customised calculations.
If you have any questions relating to the model or its use, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
M Taylor, S Chaplin, York Health Economics Consortium, York, UK, Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 2013, 2(Suppl1):P368
Model and Supporting Materials
YHEC model (July 2013 version)
User Guide (May 2013 version)
- Copper Surfaces Reduce the Rate of Healthcare-Acquired Infections in the Intensive Care Unit. Cassandra D Salgado, MD; Kent A Sepkowitz, MD; Joseph F John, MD; J Robert Cantey, MD; Hubert H Attaway, MS; Katherine D Freeman, DrPH; Peter A Sharpe, MBA; Harold T Michels, PhD; Michael G Schmidt, PhD. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology , Vol. 34, No. 5, Special Topic Issue: The Role of the Environment in Infection Prevention (May 2013), pp. 479-486.
- From Laboratory Research to a Clinical Trial: Copper Alloy Surfaces Kill Bacteria and Reduce Hospital-Acquired Infections. Michels, H.T. 2015. Health Environments Research & Design Journal. 1–16.
- Sustained Reduction of Microbial Burden on Common Hospital Surfaces through Introduction of Copper. Michael G Schmidt, Hubert H Attaway, Peter A Sharpe, Joseph John Jr, Kent A Sepkowitz, Andrew Morgan, Sarah E Fairey, Susan Singh, Lisa L Steed, J Robert Cantey, Katherine D Freeman, Harold T Michels and Cassandra D Salgado. J Clin Microbiol July 2012 vol. 50 no. 7 2217-2223. Published ahead of print 2 May 2012, doi: 10.1128/JCM.01032-12.
- Copper Continuously Limits the Concentration of Bacteria Resident on Bed Rails within the Intensive Care Unit. Michael G Schmidt, PhD; Hubert H Attaway III, MS; Sarah E Fairey, BS; Lisa L Steed, PhD; Harold T Michels, PhD; Cassandra D Salgado, MD, MS Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, Vol. 34, No. 5, Special Topic Issue: The Role of the Environment in Infection Prevention (May 2013), pp. 530-533.
- Evaluation of Antimicrobial Properties of Copper Surfaces in an Outpatient Infectious Disease Practice. Seema Rai, Bruce E Hirsch, Hubert H Attaway, Richard Nadan, S Fairey, J Hardy, G Miller, Donna Armellino, Wilton R Moran, Peter Sharpe, Adam Estelle, J H Michel, Harold T Michels and Michael G Schmidt.
- Role of Copper in Reducing Hospital Environment Contamination. A L Casey, D Adams, T J Karpanen, P A Lambert, B D Cookson, P Nightingale, L Miruszenko, R Shillam, P Christian and T S J Elliott, J Hosp Infect (2009), doi:10.1016/j.jhin.2009.08.018.
- The Antimicrobial Efficacy of Copper Alloy Furnishing in the Clinical Environment; a Cross-over Study. T J Karpanen, A L Casey, P A Lambert, B D Cookson, P Nightingale, L Miruszenko L and T S J Elliott. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. 2012 Jan;33(1):3-9. doi: 10.1086/663644. Epub 2011 Dec 7.
- Effectiveness of Copper Contact Surfaces in Reducing the Microbial Burden (MB) in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Hospital del Cobre, Calama, Chile. V Prado, C Durán, M Crestto, A Gutierrez, P Sapiain, G Flores, H Fabres, C Tardito, M Schmidt. Poster 56.044, presented at the 14th International Conference on Infectious Diseases, Miami, March 11, 2010.
- Survival of Bacteria on Metallic Copper Surfaces in a Hospital Trial. André Mikolay, Susanne Huggett, Ladji Tikana, Gregor Grass, Jörg Braun and Dietrich H Nies. Applied Microbial and Cell Physiology, DOI 10.1007/s00253-010-2640-1. May 2010.
- Antimicrobial Efficacy of Copper Touch Surfaces in Reducing Environmental bioburden in a South African Community Healthcare Facility. F Marais, S Mehtar and L Chalkley, J Hosp Infect (2009), doi:10.1016/j.jhin.2009.07.010.