Maintaining a safe environment in a healthcare facility requires vigilance on multiple fronts, making it critical to seek out every new tool available. Increasingly, hospitals and other medical centers are turning to UV surface treatment devices to bolster the cleaning regimen.
To find out more about how this technology can contribute to the fights against surgical site infection (SSI) and health-associated infections (HAI), Surgical Products turned to an industry expert.
Katherine Velez, PhD, is a scientist at Clorox Healthcare, where she serves as a technical liaison for the healthcare business, supporting UV-C and manual surface disinfection clinical studies as well as product development. Velez previously served as a scientific consultant in Washington D.C.
Surgical Products interviewed Velez about UV surface treatment technologies and the benefits she sees in Clorox Healthcare Optimum-UV Systems.
How does UV surface treatment work and how can it supplement manual OR cleaning techniques?
There are several different types of automated UV surface treatment devices, so it is important for facilities to do their research to find the system that will be the best fit for their specific infection control needs. The Clorox Healthcare Optimum-UV Systems, for example, utilize UV-C, the highest-energy form of ultraviolet light, to inactivate pathogens that may pose a threat or present a danger to the healthcare environment.
When the DNA of a microorganism absorbs UV-C energy, molecular reactions occur, resulting in the disruption of the DNA sequence. This renders the cell unable to grow or reproduce. Without the ability to reproduce, the cell cannot infect and it rapidly dies.
Supplementing manual cleaning practices with UV-C technology offers an extra layer of protection by killing microorganisms in high-risk settings like the OR, or in areas that may otherwise be missed or insufficiently addressed by manual cleaning practices.
How do you believe that UV disinfection technology is contributing to HAI and SSI reduction?
While manual cleaning and disinfection is a critical step to limiting the spread of pathogens, studies have demonstrated that less than 50 percent of hospital room surfaces are adequately cleaned and disinfected — leaving facilities and patients vulnerable to pathogens. UV-C technology kills persistent pathogens, including Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), for optimum infection prevention and patient safety.
What are the different modalities of UV surface treatment? How are these modalities alike and how do they differ?
The primary difference between continuous UV lamps and pulsed xenon devices is the chemistry used to generate the ultraviolet light. Pulsed xenon technology uses xenon gas to generate a broad spectrum of light, of which only a fraction is in the germicidal range. Continuous low-pressure mercury UV lamps are analogous to fluorescent lamps that are used in commercial buildings all over the world, except instead of glass they are made of quartz to allow germicidal UV to pass through.
What are the most compelling findings from recent clinical research surrounding UV technology and HAI/SSI reduction?
Researchers from the University of North Carolina recently found that UV-C technology effectively reduces environmental contamination in patient rooms and should be considered when environmental transmission is significant (e.g., after discharge of patients under contact precautions). The study results showed that a UV-C device achieved a total 3.56 log10 reduction for MRSA in five minutes and a total 2.78 log10 reduction for C. difficile spores in 10 minutes.
Additionally, in a recent study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, researchers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania found that deploying the Clorox Healthcare Optimum-UV System in hematology/oncology units helped reduce C. difficile infection rates among cancer patients by 25 percent.
The research team, led by David Pegues, MD, a professor of Infectious Diseases in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and healthcare epidemiologist at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, examined the impact of an enhanced disinfection protocol using the Optimum-UV System in combination with manual surface disinfection using bleach on C. difficile infection rates in three oncology units over a 12 month period. The vast majority of the patients on these oncology floors were being treated for blood cancers, including leukemia and multiple myeloma and were significantly immunocompromised, putting them at increased risk of infection.
How do you address factors such as workflow, room turnover time, and cost?
The Clorox Healthcare Optimum-UV Enlight System is designed to deliver high performance at a lower cost, which is an increasingly important consideration in today’s market. Clorox Healthcare offers leasing, financing, and bundled discounts to enhance affordability. We work closely with our customers to integrate UV technology into their existing cleaning protocol and workflows.
For example, we offer a comprehensive workflow guide and access to comparable customers who have been successful implementing the Optimum-UV Enlight System. In a recent study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, researchers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania found that deploying the Optimum-UV System in hematology/oncology units helped reduce infection rates, saving approximately $350,000 to $1.5 million in direct medical costs, all without impacting room turn-over times.
How should individuals best evaluate UV disinfection technology in their facilities and generally make the most out of trial periods?
Facilities should evaluate UV technology based on their needs, capacity, pathogens of concern, and the areas of the facility they are looking to treat. When choosing a UV room device, look for a partner that has a deep commitment to patient safety and product quality.
Clorox Healthcare offers best-in-class pre-and-post sale customer support, ranging from in-person trainings, implementation and workflow support, to marketing and ongoing technical support. In addition, comprehensive training videos and instructional documents enable facilities to maximize their trial periods.