As part of efforts to reduce hospital-acquired infections, Baptist Health is about to become the first health system in the world to adopt specialized fluid repellent garments for both staff and patients.
The Jacksonville-based network of hospitals has partnered with Vestagen Technical Textiles of Orlando to distribute thousands of staff uniforms, lab coats and scrub jackets that feature the company's antimicrobial, fluid barrier Vestex fabric.
WATCH: Vestagen's state-of-the-art Vextex textile in action
Hospital staff will begin receiving the new garments on July 10. Patients will also receive updated gowns made with the Vestex textile in September.
"It does help prevent the transmission of organisms which cause infection from person to person, and that's why we're interested in them," said Diane Raines, Baptist Health senior vice president and chief nursing officer.
The system has invested more than $1 million for more than 70,000 staff and patient garments in the initial rollout. Employees will be given the new uniforms at no cost.
According to a release, research on the Vestex uniforms published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology showed a nearly complete reduction in the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, commonly known as MRSA, when compared to non-protective uniforms.
"Everyone knows that to reduce germs you wash hands and wipe surfaces between patients, but it's not feasible for staff to change uniforms between every patient," said Vestagen CEO Uncas "Ben" V. Favret III in a release.
"Baptist is including what is worn as an additional evidence-based strategy for reducing environmental contamination," Farvet said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one health care-associated infection and estimates that nearly 100,000 patients die from hospital-acquired infections every year.
WATCH: A demonstration of Vestagen's fluid resistant Vextex fabric