OPHARDT hygiene open systems
The advantages of using an open dispenser system are not only economic.

The economics of a dispenser

Hidden costs complicate decision making.

Good hand hygiene practices are undisputedly the most important measure for infection prevention. By implementing multimodal interventions, medical institutions continue to work toward raising hand hygiene compliance in medical environments. Still, the first step to achieving these goals starts with making a decision about which dispensing system to buy. On its surface, investing in quality seems like the most obvious option for a critical product that sees frequent use, but the required amount of dispensers complicates the matter.

The Commission for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention at the Robert Koch Institute (KRINKO) recommends that one hygiene dispenser be provided per patient bed in an intensive care unit. Taking the KRINKO recommendation into account, the average hospital unit should have 30 devices or more, which are predominantly wall-mounted or installed at the patient’s bedside using mounting brackets. So taking into consideration the amount of dispensers needed, how do healthcare institutions determine value?

Flexibility reduces costs

The question for which dispenser system is best is frequently decided by price instead of adherence to regional hygiene guidelines, longevity and functionality.

Dispensers can be divided into two main categories: open systems, which can integrate standardized hand care packaging from different manufacturers, and closed systems, which are optimized for one hand care solution. Both systems, when designed correctly, can offer a high level of hygiene, offer various levels of functionality and can be built for longevity.

In terms of long-term costs, however, there are clear differences. When considering the price of a dispenser system, the upfront and long-term costs must both be considered. The up-front investment for a closed system is generally much lower than an open system. For healthcare institutions that must spread there hygiene investments over multiple years, this option can be preferable. However, in the long run, an open system will quickly become the wiser investment.

Based on data from the National Reference Centre for Surveillance of Nosocomial Infections (NRZ) in Germany, the average intensive care unit with 16 patient beds consumes an average of 670 liters per year at a 90 percent utilization rate. This gives us a roughly equivalent demand for consumption of 1L bottles, distributed over an average of 34 disinfectant dispensers per hospital ward. Taking into account the market prices for hand disinfectants, an open dispensing system achieves a cost advantage over closed model after only two years. Extrapolating this data to a complete hospital, the savings become quite significant.

OPHARDT hygiene dispenser
The economics of a dispenser

Open systems and regulatory bodies

The advantages of using an open dispenser system are not only economic; Regulating bodies, like the KRINKO in Germany, have begun requiring manufacturer – independent (or open) dispensing systems. This sentiment also been echoed by the German Society for Hospital Hygiene e.V. (DGKH).

In these cases, the economic advantages are secondary to the flexibility provided to healthcare institutions. In the event of pandemics a superior sanitizer can be quickly implemented. During potential delivery bottlenecks an alternative supplier can also be seemlessly integrated. Introducing standardized dispensing equipment can also increase long-term hygiene standards through standardized routines and workflows.

OPHARDT hygiene offers both open and closed dispensing systems. To find out more about our flagship open dispensing system for medical environments visit our website.

For more information on our new closed system visit: https://www.ophardt.com/index.php/en/brands/kx-series


Nationales Referenzzentrum für Surveillance von nosokomialen Infektionen, Modul HAND-KISS Referenzdaten aus dem Jahr 2017, online aufrufbar: https://www.nrz-hygiene.de/fileadmin/nrz/module/hand/201701_201712_HAND_S_DE_Ref.pdf

QVIA IMS Krankenhaus Sachbedarfs-Studie (DKB) 2017

Kommission für Krankenhaushygiene und Infektionsprävention beim Robert Koch-Institut (2016). Händehygiene in Einrichtungen des Gesundheitswesens. Bundesgesundheitsblatt-Gesundheitsforschung-Gesundheitsschutz, 9, 1189.

Assadian, Ojan, et al. “Empfehlung zu Anforderungen an Seifen-und Händedesinfektionsmittelspender in Einrichtungen des Gesundheitswesens.” Hygiene und Medizin 36.10 (2011): 407.


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