Health care-associated infections (HAIs) affect millions of patients annually with up to 80,000 affected in Europe on any given day. This represents a significant societal and economic burden. Staff training, hand hygiene, patient identification and isolation and controlled antibiotic use are some of the standard ways to reduce HAI incidence but this is time consuming and subject and subject to rigorous implementation. In addition, the lack of antimicrobial activity of some disinfectants against healthcare-associated pathogens may also affect the efficacy of disinfection practices. Textiles are an attractive substrate for pathogens because of contact with the human body with the attendant warmth and moisture. Textiles and surfaces coated with engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have shown considerable promise in reducing the microbial burden on those surfaces. Studies have also shown that this antimicrobial affect can reduce the incidence of HAIs. For all of the promising research, there has been an absence of study on the economic effectiveness of ENM coated materials in a healthcare setting. This article examines the relative economic efficacy of ENM coated materials against an antiseptic approach. The goal is to establish the economic efficacy of the widespread usage of ENM coated materials in a healthcare setting. In the absence of detailed and segregated costs, benefits and control variables over at least cross sectional data or time series, an aggregated approach is warranted. This approach, while relying on some supposition allows for a comparison with similar data regarding standard treatment to reduce HAIs and provides a reasonable economic comparison. We find that while, relative to antiseptics, ENM coated textiles represent a significant clinical advantage, they can also offer considerable cost savings.
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