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Hygiene services opportunity in Germany9th of December 2013
German reporter Thomas Schulte-Marxloh takes a look at new business potential for the cleaning sector in healthcare.
Today hospitals and surgeries are challenged more and more by increasing demands or certifications – also in terms of hygiene – which require significant investments in terms of personnel and technology. Outsourcing of services to external providers can allow a focus on their core business, reduced workforce and costs and, at the same time, increased hygienic quality.
Since the contract cleaning industry in Germany has expanded its range of services to cover various needs of facility management, many new business opportunities have emerged. In this context a project called ‘New Business Opportunities in Hygiene for Health’ is remarkable as it explicitly promotes ‘new business opportunities’.
The project is a cooperation of the Hochschule Niederrhein, the Cleaning Technology Institute WFK, the Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology, IUTA and the Dutch organisation for applied scientific research TNO, and is co-financed by the EU scheme Interreg IIIA, the province of Limburg and the ministries of economics of the Netherlands and the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The project ‘Hygiene for Health’ aims at new hygiene services in medical device cleaning and processing preparation (disinfection) of medical instruments and an optimised decontamination of surfaces in medical areas.
The project not only develops alternative methods of hygienic cleaning and reprocessing but also features transfer of practical know-how. In particular, service providers who already have experience in sensitive areas can benefit from databases and information presented on the project’s website (hygiene-for-health.de). This enables companies that are ready to diversify their services to identify and develop new market potential.
The project also organises various events and work-shops to promote opportunities in this business area. Moreover, the project maintains close contact with hygiene service providers, hospitals, public authorities, associations and professional organisations in order to keep informed about current issues and to actively generate improvement regarding cleaning and reprocessing of medical devices.
‘Hygiene for Health’ also strongly supports the foundation of new professional service companies by introducing start-ups to the requirements of cleaning and reprocessing of medical devices and decontamination of hygienically demanding surfaces in the medical and pharmaceutical area.
The creation of sustainable workplaces is supported by the project’s own research and development of methods and tests. For participating companies this knowledge transfer means a distinct advantage in market competition and also helps to develop the market.
The German cleaning industry waves goodbye to old images, ideas and limits. Higher customer expectations have resulted in more training and education. Delicate building and interior materials demand increased knowledge. New markets have been developed not only by the big players but also by SMEs.