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clinician organising single-use disposable medical supplies

3M Single-Use and Single-Patient Use Solutions

Everyday practices that can increase infection risk

Approximately 11 million people are admitted to hospital annually1. In acute healthcare facilities around 65,000 hospital acquired infections (HAI) are recorded each year, making infections the most common complication2. While sources of infection vary, one common source of transmission is cross or residual-contamination from medical equipment, medical instruments and medical supplies. 

The data is especially alarming among high-touch products such as medical tapes and stethoscopes which are often used with multiple patients and carried from room-to-room without proper storage, cleaning or disinfection between use. 

  • 52%  52% of tape rolls were found to contain MRSA and VRE3.
  • 85%  85% contamination rate of personal stethoscopes4.
  • 1/74  1 in 74 hospitalisations will be affected by a HAI2.

Increasing awareness on the benefits of single-patient-use and single-use items

Infection prevention and control is an integral component to providing care and requires several strategies for its effectiveness5. Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare5 and Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings6 both mention the importance of implementing patient-dedicated and single-use medical equipment to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious agents.

Left image single-use tape, right image patient in hospital bed with visitor

Reducing waste with single-patient-use medical tape

Adding single-use and single-patient use products to an established infection prevention and control protocol can help another line of defence against cross-contamination among patients, healthcare workers and medical equipment. Single-patient use medical tapes may help facilities save money and reduce tape waste.

single-use tape disposable medical supplies

Studies suggest hospitals could waste between 9,360 - 11,310 rolls of tape based on 20-24,000 discharges annually7.

benefits of single-use tape

"Switching to shorter rolls of medical tapes can provide an important opportunity to decrease cross-contamination, eliminate wasted tape, decrease hospital supply costs and improve the standard of patient care."

Exploring 3M Solutions

  • Bair Hugger product family

    Products across many 3M portfolios are available in either single-patient use or single-use formats.

    Single-Patient Use Products
    Our single-patient use products are intended for use with only one patient.

    Single-Use Products
    Single-use products are intended to be used once and discarded.

Two clinicians wearing PPE clothing
Mitigating the Risk of Infectious Disease Spread Through Contamination Prevention

3M Medical Director Matthew Cooper, MD, MBA, FACS, offers tips to help protect healthcare workers and patients in your facility with the use of single-patient use products and hand hygiene protocols. Read more on our Transforming Outcomes blog. 


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3M is your team behind the scenes.

Whether it is managing ongoing healthcare-associated infection (HAI) initiatives with pandemic response, finding alternative product solutions or providing supplemental education to staff, 3M is here to help – both virtually and, if appropriate, in-person. We cannot promise we’ll have all the answers or solutions for everything you need, but we will try. 

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  • References

    1. Australian Institute for Health and Welfare, 2020. ‘Hospital Activity’. Canberra, viewed 13 August 2020.
    2. Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care, 2018. ‘Hospital Acquired Infections’. Canberra, viewed 13 August 2020.
    3. Harris PN, Ashhurst-Smith C, Berenger SJ, Shoobert A & Ferguson JK, 2012. ‘Adhesive tape in the health care setting: another high-risk fomite?’, Med J Aus, vol 196, no.1, pp.34.
    4. O’Flaherty N & Fenelon L, 2015. ‘The stethoscope and healthcare-associated infection: a snake in the grass or innocent bystander?’, J of Hosp Inf, vol.91, pp.1-7.
    5. National Health and Medical Research Council, 2019. ‘Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare’, Canberra.
    6. Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention, 2019. ‘Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings’, Washington.
    7. Love, K., 2013. ‘Single-Patient Rolls of Medical Tape Reduce Cross-Contamination Risk’. Infection Control Today.