Cone Health Reports Significant Drop in Infections and Costs from Use of Disinfection System


Cone Health in Greensboro, N.C. announces a dramatic reduction in healthcare-acquired infection (HAI) rates after implementing an infection prevention program which includes Xenex room disinfection systems.

Cone Health saw zero MRSA cases in its intensive care units, and the total number of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) decreased 42 percent during the time period studied. 

At Cone Health, we want our patients to be as safe as possible and investing in new infection control technologies was a priority," says Dr. Mary Jo Cagle, chief quality officer at Cone Health. "We are elated that the initiatives are working. Patients in our hospitals are safer because their chance of contracting an infection has been greatly reduced. Thats something we can all be excited about,  

Cone Health compared HAI data from the first and second quarters of 2010 to the same period in 2011. Using data from its MRSA screening program, an aggressive approach to HAI prevention was developed. Intervention methods included:

- A new Step Up. Scrub Up campaign to renew the organizations emphasis on consistent hand hygiene for everyone.

- Room-cleaning was supplemented with Xenexs automated room disinfection system.

- MRSA surveillance testing was expanded from three units to patients in all ICUs, step-down units, high risk and pre-surgical areas.

- Additional infection prevention professionals were added and/or promoted to new roles.

- An electronic data mining system provided real-time data on whether a patient had MRSA so that measures could be taken to prevent spreading it.

- Education of personnel, patients and visitors was expanded.

The safety and well-being of our patients comes first. I challenged our infection prevention team to eliminate the risk of infections in our hospitals, and they made major strides in that direction," says Terry Akin, chief operating officer at Cone Health. "Using a combination of practices, tools and technologies, including Xenexs room disinfection system, we were able to reduce our MRSA infections to zero in our ICUs. This has had the added benefit of saving the organization and community an estimated $2.3 million in infection-associated hospital costs. We consider the program a success." 

Cone Health is the first hospital in North Carolina to implement Xenexs automated room disinfection system, which uses pulsed xenon ultraviolet light to destroy viruses, bacteria and bacterial spores in patient areas without contact or chemicals. Uniquely designed for ease of use and portability, the Xenex device can be operated by a hospitals cleaning staff without disrupting hospital operations or requiring the use of expensive chemicals. The Xenex system is capable of disinfecting dozens of rooms per day, so hospitals can use the system continuously to reduce contamination levels throughout their facilities, including patient rooms, ORs and ICUs.

The Xenex system was first deployed in late 2010, meaning our early customers have now had enough time to calculate the impact Xenex is having on infection rates, explains Mark Stibich, PhD, chief scientific officer of Xenex. Evidence continues to mount that the patient environment and high-touch surfaces in the room play a key role in the spread of HAIs, and so these results are not surprising when one considers the high level of facility-wide disinfection that the Xenex system provides.

Studies show the Xenex room disinfection system is consistently 20 times more effective than standard chemical cleaning practices and in one recent study, the Xenex system was shown to reduce customer Cooley Dickinson Hospitals C.diff infection rate by 82 percent.

Xenex did not sponsor any aspect of Cone Healths MRSA study. Cone Healths environmental services department is managed by Sodexo, a leading healthcare environmental service provider. Sodexo recently selected Xenex as its preferred partner for the disinfection of Sodexo client facilities.



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