Clinician organizing single-Use equipment

3M Single-Use and Single-Patient Use Solutions

Everyday practices that can increase infection risk

It is estimated that 1 in 25 patients will contract an infection during their hospital stay.1 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 that are used with multiple patients, including medical tapes, stethoscopes and electrocardiogram leadwires, as healthcare workers often carry these products from room-to-room without proper storage, cleaning or disinfection between use.

  • infographic - 61.5% of staff members carried rolls of tape in pockets or on stethoscopes.
  • Infographic - 85% contamination raate of personal stehoscopes.
  • Infographic - 1/4 3M data found EKG/ECG leadwires were one of the top 4 most contaminated room surfaces.

Increasing awareness on the benefits of single-use items

The rapid spread of COVID-19 within long-term care facilities further demonstrated the ease of transmission and need for heightened precautions in all care settings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and European Center for Disease Prevention and Control all updated recommendations to mention the importance of dedicated medical equipment or the disinfection of non-critical patient-care devices for patients with known or suspected COVID-19.

However, even prior to COVID-19, the use of dedicated non-critical medical equipment for patients on transmission-based precautions was shown to prevent disease transmission.9

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and Infectious Disease Society of America also released guidance about the use of single-patient use and individually packaged products as a strategy for reducing the risk of cross-contamination, and the transmission of pathogens such as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C.diff).10,11

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

Reducing waste with single-use medical tape

Adding single-use and single-patient use products to already established infection prevention and control protocols, can help provide patients and healthcare workers another line of defense against cross-contamination among people and medical equipment. Plus, single-use medical tapes may help facilities save money and reduce tape waste.

Single-use tape

Studies suggest hospitals could waste between 9,360 - 11,310 rolls of tape based on 20-24,000 discharges annually.¹²

Black box with text.

"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."

Infection Control Today, Vol. 17, no. 1, Jan. 2013

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, individual patients and larger groups in your facility, including single-patient use products and hand hygiene protocols. Read more on our Transforming Outcomes blog.


3M is your team behind the scenes.

You’re being asked to do more with less and balance ongoing healthcare-acquired infection (HAI) initiatives with pandemic response. Whether it is trying to navigate new and changing guidelines, 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. National and state healthcare-associated infections (HAI) progress report. Center for Disease Control and Prevention web site. Published March 3, 2016. Accessed November 1, 2017
    2. McClusky J, Davis M, Dahl K. A gap in patient tape storage and use practices puts patients at risk for cutaneous fungal infections. Am J Infect Control. 2015;43(2):182-184.
    (citation for first and second medical tape stat)
    3. Redelmeier D, Livesley N. J Gen Intern Med. 1999;14(6):373-375.
    (citation for third medical tape stat)
    4. O'Flaherty N, Fenelon L. The stethoscope and healthcare-associated infection: a snake in the grass or innocent bystander? The Journal of Hospital Infection. 2015;91:1-7.
    (citation for first stethoscope stat)
    5. Muniz J, Sethi RK, Zaghi J, et al. Predictors of stethoscope disinfection among pediatric health care providers. Am J Infect Control. 2012 Dec;40(10):922-5.
    (citation for second stethoscope stat)
    6. 3M 2018 Pre-market Clinical Evaluation.
    (citation for third stethoscope stat)
    7. Jancin, Bruce. “Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens Found on 77% of ECG Lead Wires.” Cardiology News. 2(3) (2004):14.
    8. 3M data on file. Data aggregated from the 3M™ Clean-Trace ATP Monitoring System’s ATP environmental surface testing across the United States: January 2018  - September 2019.
    9. Siegel JD, Rhinehart E, Jackson M, Chiarello L, and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee. 2007 Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings. Updated October 2017. Accessed December 12, 2017.
    10. Dubberke ER, Carling P, Carrico R, et al. Strategies to Prevent Clostridium difficile Infections in Acute Care Hospitals: 2014 Update. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. 2014;35(S2):S48-S65. doi:10.1017/S0899823X00193857.
    11. Calfee DP, Salgado CD, Milstone AM, et al. Strategies to Prevent Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Transmission and Infection in Acute Care Hospitals: 2014 Update. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. 2014;35(7):772-796. doi:10.1086/676534.
    12. Love, Kari L. "Single-patient rolls of medical tapes reduce cross-contamination risk." Infect Control Today 17.1 (2013): 48-50.