Published May 2022
Allegion surveyed 100 leading health care organizations to understand what’s happening in their facilities today and how trends will impact the future of the health care industry.
To understand the future, sometimes it’s helpful to look back. Our study shines a light on what has changed during the past five years. We compared the results of this research, which was completed in September 2021, to a similar survey from 2016. Here are the top four notable changes from the last five years.
Nearly two of the last five years were spent in an unprecedented pandemic, so it’s not surprising that there was an accelerated interest in antimicrobial solutions in hospitals.
Significantly more hospitals are using antimicrobials today—a rise from 1 in 3 in 2016 to nearly 9 in 10 in 2021. This is most likely swayed by the pandemic and the need to ramp up infection control measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
It could also be because there is more trust in these products. Perceived effectiveness increased for all types of products we asked about, aside from silver-based coatings which remained constant—and is still the most used product in hospitals today.
Usage of light-activated antimicrobials and bacteriophage grew by three times since 2016 while usage of copper doubled. Yet copper is still the least used of all the antimicrobial options listed in the survey.
When we asked non-users of antimicrobials how likely they would be to adopt these various products, interest in copper was up slightly since 2016, though it continues to have the lowest usage intent. However, we expect interest to rise in coming years if the EPA shares more promising updates on how copper alloys can be used against viruses.
Intensive care units, cancer treatment facilities, doors and door hardware saw significant growth in the use of antimicrobial products during the last five years.
Could antimicrobial surfaces be the answer to preventing hospital acquired infections post-pandemic? It will be interesting to see what usage looks like in the coming years.
Our 2016 research found that electronic access control (EAC) was already popular in hospitals. The latest study shows that adoption of electronic access control continued to increase over the last five years. More than 9 in 10 hospitals are using EAC to some extent, which is a 10% rise from 2016.
Today, 33% are swapping out their mechanical hardware for electronics and notably less are sticking with traditional, mechanical devices compared to five years ago. Where are they adding electronic locks? Nearly 60% of surgical suites now use electronic access control hardware. Electronics are also popular in common areas, like department separators and elevators.
Electronic access control is on the rise, and so is the interest in the data that comes from various electronic devices. More hospitals are capturing data than in 2016. We noted increases in all four categories that we asked about in the 2021 survey. There was a significant increase in using data for diagnostic information and gathering information about specific doors, like latch position.
Building automation interest also peaked in the last five years, with 40% of hospitals using it to electronically control systems like HVAC, electrical, plumbing and security—up from 27 percent in 2016.
It seems the conversation around mental health has shifted in recent years—and that’s a positive thing for everyone, including those who are seeking in-patient treatment at hospitals. Two-thirds of respondents reported familiarity with ligature resistant hardware compared to only half in 2016—a 30% increase. Door hardware for behavioral health, these solutions are designed to reduce ligature risk and keep patients safe.
Fewer respondents reported patient harm from ligature points as a top concern compared to five years ago, yet there has been a 7% increase in patients needing behavioral health rooms with ligature resistant hardware. Could this be that hospitals have become more effective in addressing ligature risks in the last five years? Or perhaps pandemic-related concerns trumped these risks as top priorities at the time of this survey in 2021.
While behavioral health areas, psych wards and emergency rooms continue to be areas with the greatest need for ligature resistant hardware, there was also an increased need in common areas from 2016 when just 15% acknowledged a need there.
Patients often rank noise as a top complaint in Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys, which measure patient experiences. From beeping machines to slamming doors, if noise pollution negatively impacts the patient’s experience, it can in turn negatively impact the reimbursements that hospitals receive based on the HCAHPS.
Familiarity with the impact of quiet on patient satisfaction via HCAHPS surveys increased slightly to 83% from 75% in 2016. While not the top concern in hospitals currently, more than 50% are likely to adopt quiet hardware in the next five years—something to keep an eye on as a future trend.
In terms of effectiveness, there is now a greater focus on the improvement of staff satisfaction than in 2016.
What a difference five years can make. Looking back helps us understand where trends came from and how they might impact the future of the health care industry. For more insights on the trends in health care facilities, download the full findings, watch videos and more at allegion.com/hospital-trends.