As the nature of the infection prevention and control challenge evolves, so too must the approaches to meeting it – but solutions must focus on ease of use for busy clinicians
newapproaches to infection
Back in 2004, one of the most pressing infection and prevention control issues could be summed up with four letters. That year, MRSA was responsible for 1,168 deaths in England and Wales – up from 50 in 1994. Meanwhile, a similar pattern was emerging with Clostridium difficile. It was named on 2,238 death certificates in 2004. Three years later, it would be cited as having contributed to 8,324 deaths – an increase of more than 250%.
It was in this context that Guy Braverman and Allen Hanouka began their medical careers. As junior doctors, they saw the fight to prevent such outbreaks in close quarters – along with some of its challenges. Chief among them was that hand hygiene could only do so much in preventing infection. The two knew there were also environmental factors at play, and recognised that clinicians were struggling to address these with the same degree of ease as they were addressing hand hygiene.
While antibacterial hand gels were becoming readily available at the point of care, making it straightforward to do the right thing on hand hygiene, it wasn’t as simple to disinfect medical equipment that moved from patient to patient.
Guy and Allen knew time was of the essence on a pressurised ward, and that nursing colleagues did not have time to go to a central point to gather the equipment needed to decontaminate frequently used items. There was also a proliferation of products that were task specific – creating opportunities to use an ineffective product. So, in December 2004, they founded GAMA Healthcare, with the mission of developing products that were efficient in the field of infection and prevention and control, and that addressed real problems faced by clinicians.
Key to that efficiency was ensuring products had proven scientific efficacy. But they also had to be easily usable in a clinical setting. Scientific efficacy was insufficient if products were time consuming and complicated to use, requiring dilution for instance.
With these motivations, it is little wonder that the company’s first product was a ready-to-go wipe that could be used in the majority of settings. Clinell Universal wipes have become a familiar sight in healthcare settings worldwide, proven to kill at least 99.999% of germs. Importantly, they have a dual action and work as both a detergent and disinfectant wipe for any surface or non-invasive medical device.
In other words, they remove the need for multiple wipes or for washing, rinsing and drying processes. In short order, GAMA Healthcare became one of the largest suppliers of wet wipes to the NHS, as well as exporting its products to 60 countries around the globe.
The company’s activity has also branched out into other means of preventing infection: patient care products through its Carell brand, and incontinence care products under the Contiplan banner. Plus the firm offers infection prevention and control training for nurses, helping ensure staff are able to get the optimal and most cost-effective use from their products. The training provides the underpinning knowledge in decontamination skills, and obtaining it is as simple as contacting staff at the company.
Although UK deaths from MRSA and Clostridium difficile have fallen significantly, GAMA Healthcare recognises that the fight against infection is one that has not ceased. Antibiotic resistance is continuing its rise – and no new antibiotics are expected in the near future – so there is a need for constant innovation in preventing infections occurring in the first place.
To that end, GAMA Healthcare has an active research and development wing. Staff in the department are constantly working on improving existing products, and developing new ones. Scientific efficacy remains central to this. But so too does ease of use for the clinicians who will use these products day in and day out – just as it was central to that original idea for a universal wipe that simplified the process of decontamination, and so bolstered patient safety.
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