The Business Case

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.

Cost-benefit model

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

Model and Supporting Materials

Click here to view the User Guide Webcast, and use the links below to download the model and accompanying materials.

Copper and copper alloys are engineering materials that are durable, colourful and recyclable and are widely available in various product forms suitable for a range of manufacturing purposes. Copper and its alloys offer a suite of materials for designers of functional, sustainable and cost-effective products.

Copper and certain copper alloys have intrinsic antimicrobial properties (so-called ‘Antimicrobial Copper’) and products made from these materials have an additional, secondary benefit of contributing to hygienic design. Products made from Antimicrobial Copper are a supplement to, not a substitute for standard infection control practices. It is essential that current hygiene practices are continued, including those related to the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.


  1. The Economic Assessment of an Environmental Intervention: Discrete Deployment of Copper for Infection Control in ICUs. M Taylor, S Chaplin. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control 2013, 2 (Suppl1):P368.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Find out more by following this link.