Employees, Equipment and the Environment: Top Infection Prevention Issues in Hospitals

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In any given hospital in the country at any given time, 1 in 25 patients has at least one hospital-acquired infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What's more, many of these infections prove fatal. And as increased surveillance has shown that HAIs are causing an alarming number of patient deaths per year, infection control efforts have drifted to the forefront of industry conversation.

Consequently, a stronger emphasis is being placed upon innovative and comprehensive infection prevention programs to incorporate multiple levels of hospital staff, as well as various disinfection processes, to ensure the safety of all environments that patients come in contact with during their care. According to industry experts, the most effective infection control plans address specific procedures for disinfection of the three "E"s: employees, equipment and environments.
Hand washing remains one of the most simple, yet critical, ways to prevent the spread of germs. However, many health care workers fail to meet the suggested standards for hand hygiene. With recently published studies showing the lack of compliance with recommended hand hygiene guidelines, some as little as only 30 percent of the time, progressive infection preventionists have turned up the heat on education and enforcement of these protocols while implementing new technologies, such as radio frequency identification and WiFi-based systems, to track hand hygiene compliance.

Additionally, focus has increased on the proper sterilization and disinfection, use and disposal methods of medical equipment. Multiple studies have traced the outbreaks of numerous superbugs such as Clostridium difficile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and carpbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae to failed compliance with scientifically based guidelines for sterilization and disinfection of medical equipment, according to a report from the CDC.

Rounding out comprehensive infection prevention and control plans, environmental hygiene practices have evolved to not only include manual cleaning by healthcare staff, but also advanced disinfection technologies, such as automated UV-C-emitting systems capable of measuring a proper dose for thorough disinfection. Healthcare environments easily harbor hardy pathogens that survive when healthcare personnel fail to properly clean their hands and medical equipment. Studies have shown that traditional disinfection methods are only 50 percent effective, leaving pathogens behind to lurk.

"TRU-D's intuitive technology ensures that human error does not prevent health care facilities from maintaining a safe environment for patients," says Chuck Dunn, president of TRU-D LLC. "Traditional cleaning methods are no longer sufficient, especially with the risk of losing out on millions of dollars in reimbursement."

As part of a $2 million infection reduction study funded by the CDC, in which TRU-D is the sole device being used, researchers concluded that UV-C devices without the technology to measure UVC dosage may inadequately estimate the time necessary to effectively disinfect patient rooms. TRU-D precisely measures reflected UV-C emissions with Sensor360 to automatically calculate the pathogen-lethal UV dose required for proper and consistent disinfection of healthcare environments.

Most importantly, comprehensive and effective infection prevention plans stress the importance of continuously tracking infection data to identify and address problem areas. TRU-D works to seamlessly assist healthcare staff in doing this with its customized, secure cloud-based data tracking technology, iTRU-D. Infection prevention data simultaneously uploads to a secure cloud-based portal while TRU-D eliminates germs in hospital rooms, proving TRU-D's efficiency through real-time reporting.

TRU-D SmartUVC is the device of choice for nearly all existing independent research on UV disinfection technology, including a $2 million infection reduction study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Epicenter Program at Duke University and the University of North Carolina. More than 200 TRU-Ds have been deployed to disinfect hospitals across the U.S. and internationally, including the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland; the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina; and Houston Methodist in Houston, Texas.

Source: Lumalier Corp.

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