Numerous studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of ultraviolet c-wave (UVC) disinfection systems in healthcare settings to help clinicians visualize the benefits of the disinfection systems, which are projected to be a $2.8 billion market by 2020. In an industry with many competitors and financial incentives, it can be hard to figure out if you are being duped by data. Here’s some tips:
1. Compare Apples to Apples
A study released by Clorox Healthcare compared its Optimum-UV System against Tru-D’s SmartUVC. The goal was to see if the Clorox machine offered comparable results when it came to killing MRSA and C. difficile spores during different exposure periods. Authored by seven experts, including one with disclosures from Clorox, the study concluded it not only did a comparable job, but more comparative, standardized studies need to be conducted. “Such standardization is needed to facilitate comparative effectiveness evaluations, particularly since there may be significant differences in performance of difference UV-C devices,” they wrote.
This point is valid, and I agree more ‘apples to apples’ comparisons should be made. It is also important to be mindful of what the study says – and does not say.
2. Be Mindful of Counter Opinions
While it offered a detailed perspective on organic loads and performance, when I approached Chuck Dunn, president of Tru-D SmartUVC, he retorted that measuring factors, like like the ability to kill spores without other factors, such as distance, shadowing, color, room geometry and the ability to measure dosage, was not effective.
The study did was thorough, but, like any study with some financial connections, talking to a competitor can always shine some light potential pitfalls. Being a competitor to Clorox gave Dunn an obvious ulterior motive, but his argument makes sense – if dosage cannot be measured, how can effectiveness be guaranteed? This can be countered with trail data showing efficacy, reinforced by periodic quality checks, but it is one of the talking points in the industry.
3. Question Everything
How can you make sure your facility isn’t duped by data? Ask questions – many of them. Purchasing committees are known for slowing down decisions, but also for their thorough evaluation of technology. When you’re considering making a proposal, ask questions of your supporting sources, like:
- Do any of the study authors have any relevant disclosures and how was the study funded?
- Are the methods listed consistent and ethical?
- What components were studied and why were those components chosen?
- How does this study’s conclusion fit into the larger pictures of data?
- How does this study fit into your knowledge of healthcare and infections?
Talking to a supplier you are interested in is important, but talking to competitors to get the full story is equally important so you can prepare yourself for questions purchasing committees will be analyzing.