As the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology kicks off a new awareness campaign about healthcare-associated infections during International Infection Prevention Week, it's sure to rouse interest in the demand for preventive measures to rid hospitals of these dreaded and deadly HAIs. UV disinfection is among the measures leaders at top hospitals around the U.S. and Canada are considering when waging war on superbugs that threaten patients, physically and financially.
A recent report by MedERA, "Economic Burden of Healthcare-Associated Infections in U.S. Acute Care Hospitals -- Societal Perspective" published in the Journal of Medical Economics online edition, estimates that HAIs may cost both hospitals and patients combined up to $147 billion annually. An earlier report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that HAIs cost hospitals alone up to $33.8 billion per year. The staggering financial impact of HAIs is forcing infection preventionists to address the cost burden for both hospitals and affected patients.
While UV disinfection technology isn't new, hospital executives are still trying to determine the best way to make an informed purchase. Armed with a list of top questions to consider, they can determine which device will help achieve necessary HAI reduction rates for their hospital or facility.
What to consider:
Is there evidence-based data from independent clinical research and third-party/peer-reviewed studies confirming the effectiveness of the device?
What hospitals are using this technology?
Is the device able to precisely measure variables including UV-C reflective properties, dose delivery and bulb degradation over time?
Does the disinfection cycle take place from a single location in the room or does it require movement to multiple places for complete terminal disinfection?
Does the device disinfect all surfaces, including shadowed areas?
How long has the device been on the market?
There isn't a large amount of research published on the many devices available in the marketplace, making the decision more challenging for some. Due to TRU-D's first-to-market status and its patented, intuitive Sensor360 technology, it has been the device of choice for the vast majority of existing third-party research on UV disinfection in healthcare settings, including an ongoing $2 million study funded by the CDC's Epicenter Program taking place at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, among other hospitals.
For hospital leaders like Mario Soares, director of infection prevention and control at Houston Methodist Hospital, the addition of the TRU-D robot and its technology were in line with their commitment to patient safety.
"Increased evidence in scientific literature indicates that UV light disinfection technology has the power to sterilize entire rooms and render common hospital pathogens, such as influenza, norovirus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, harmless to patients," Soares says.
Early adopters of the technology are seeing great benefit from using TRU-D and have been able to document success, which has led to the purchase of additional devices for their facilities.
"We had isolated clusters of infection in our burn unit and ICU," says Terry Burger, director of infection control and prevention at Lehigh Valley Health Network. "Disinfecting the rooms with TRU-D halted both clusters."
Lehigh Valley now deploys a fleet of seven TRU-D robots to proactively disinfect patient areas, including patient rooms and surgery suites.
While purchase price is similar across the board, variables like maintenance costs, monthly fees and the overall quality of the product make a difference when selecting the right technology. Armed with the right questions, hospital leaders can make an informed decision about UV disinfection technology.
Source: TRU-D and Lumalier