Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

AMR is a major global public health threat, which risks us going back to a ‘pre-antibiotic era’, where patients could die from simple bacterial infections and life-saving treatments can no longer be performed safely. Across the EU, 25 000 people die each year from drug resistant infections (WHO). Worldwide, this number will increase to 10 million by 2050, according to the UK AMR Review (2016). Not only will this impact patient safety and recovery, but AMR also puts a heavy burden on the economy due to loss of income and productivity, as well as informal care requirements.

In Europe, the annual extra healthcare costs and productivity losses due to multidrug-resistant bacteria amount to 1.5 billion euros (European Commission, 2016).

The role of medtech in fighting resistance

Medical technologies (medical devices and in-vitro diagnostics) can play a part in preventing and controlling resistance in three distinct ways:

  1. Preventing healthcare-associated infections to develop in the first place and therefore avoiding the development of resistant strains and the overuse of antibiotics.
  2. Detecting and identifying bacterial infections and their susceptibility to medication, therefore avoiding the misuse of antibiotics.
  3. Monitoring and tracking resistance and enabling patient compliance to the appropriate use of antibiotics.
Discover some examples of these technologies throughout the patient pathway below

Interactive Patient Pathway Timeline

Illustration: Before admission to the hospital / in the community
1

Before admission to the hospital / in the community

As the largest proportion of antibiotic consumption in humans takes place in the community (ECDC, 2014), it is essential that the overuse and misuse of antibiotics is tackled there in the first place. For patients having an elective procedure in a hospital, as well as in the case of an emergency admission, programmes can be put in place to help reduce the risks of healthcare-associated infections (and therefore the development of resistance) and to screen people for resistant strains.

What can be done
by technology?

Technology examples:

Illustration: Before admission to the hospital / in the community
2

Arrival at the ward

For many medical interventions patients need catheters (thin, clean hollow tube usually made of soft plastic or rubber). These are introduced in the body to inject (e.g. saline solution or anaesthetics) or remove fluids (e.g. urine, wound fluids). With such interventions, there is a risk for bacteria or fungus to grow in or around the catheter and spread to the patient’s bloodstream, causing an infection which will require the use of antibiotics.

What can be done
by technology?

Technology examples:

Illustration: Before admission to the hospital / in the community
3

In the operating room

An infection can occur after surgery in the part of the body where the procedure took place. These are called surgical site infections (SSIs) and they account for more than half of all adverse events in this group of patients.

What can be done
by technology?

Technology examples:

Illustration: Before admission to the hospital / in the community
4

During hospital stay & recovery

Patients staying at a hospital expect to recover quickly and receive the best possible care without being exposed to any unnecessary harm. Developing a resistant infection can prolong hospital stay and impede a quick recovery.

What can be done
by technology?

Technology examples:

Illustration: Before admission to the hospital / in the community
5

Discharged
and back at home

There is an increasing trend towards outpatient clinics and day surgery which means that patients continue to be treated in other healthcare facilities or in their home environment.

What can be done
by technology?

Technology examples:

Resources

Available for download.

MedTech Europe AMR Position Paper
Download
AMR infographic
Download
Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) brochure
Download

MedTech Europe from diagnosis to cure

About MedTech Europe

Our mission is to make value-based, innovative medical technology available to more people, while supporting the transformation of healthcare systems onto a sustainable path.

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