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The board of directors of the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) has approved funding for application development and field testing of two process monitoring tools -- adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for hard surfaces and bioburden testing for soft surfaces. These monitors respectively quantify the effectiveness of internal surface cleaning procedures e.g. carts, shelves, etc., and the total accumulated bioload present on textiles up to the point of use.
The new standards will become another important element of HLAC's process-based approach, and will help laundries to enhance their ongoing quality control efforts, according to John Scherberger, board president. "This is a natural extension of the 2016 HLAC Standards," Scherberger said. "It strengthens and enhances our process-based approach by enabling further verification of environmental cleanliness and textile hygiene."
The standards will focus on ATP testing of contact surfaces and extraction of textiles for bioburden, including enumeration of total spore formers. Spore formers represent a class of pathogenic organisms including Clostridium Difficile (C. difficile) that are known to be extremely hard to kill. The tools will be beta tested, piloted and formalized over the summer and fall. They will be implemented in 2017.
"Adding these two additional process monitoring tools is another step towards patient safety and superior outcomes," Scherberger said. "It enhances ongoing quality control within HLAC-accredited laundries; and it provides their hospital customers with new data -- and peace of mind -- about their healthcare laundry."