For more than a year, COVID-19 has succeeded in shining a new light on several dangers that have gone overlooked in the healthcare industry.
One of these areas is how to approach the prevention of Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAI). Prior to the pandemic, medical facilities focused only on high-risk, invasive medical equipment, neglecting the risk presented from non-critical and semi-critical items.
Now, as medical facilities increase efforts to maintain a clean and safe environment for patients and staff, it is equally important to understand how to effectively disinfect any item that may spread infection.
However, even with this increased emphasis on cleanliness, it forces the question: how do we trust that we’ve effectively disinfected a surface to avoid the spread of infections?
With surface disinfection being one of our first lines of defense against HAIs, it’s important that we gain a better understanding of how it’s achieved.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines surface disinfection as thermal or chemical destruction of surface-attached microorganisms, including those that are pathogenic (1). Resistance to antimicrobial agents such as antibiotics is continually on the rise, posing a serious public health concern worldwide. The CDC estimates that antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause 2 million illnesses and approximately 23,000 deaths annually in the United States (2). The inability to eliminate these threats can lead to patients being at an increased risk of contracting HAIs.
Additional reading: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7158362/
In a 2011 survey of HAIs, an estimated 722,000 HAIs were reported in the United States alone – with 75,000 deaths caused by nosocomial infections. This means 1 out of every 25 patients who enter the healthcare facility will contract an illness completely unrelated to what they are being treated for.
Hospital-acquired infections are the culprit for increasing hospital length of stay, while decreasing the number of beds available for incoming patients.
Beyond the obvious danger to patients, HAIs present many other problems for the healthcare industry.
The financial burden associated with HAIs is staggering, costing hospitals an estimated $30 billion a year. So clearly, from that standpoint alone, it’s critical we understand how to destroy pathogens commonly associated with HAIs.
Compliant disinfection of medical equipment is a critical first line of defense against all pathogens in the healthcare environment, especially those that possess multi-drug resistance. This transmission may occur through direct contact with the patient or indirectly through contamination of gloves worn by health care personnel (3).
A group of pathogens referred by the Infectious Diseases Society of America as “ESKAPE pathogens” (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species) are the leading cause of nosocomial infections throughout the world due to their multi-drug resistance (MDR) (4-6). A 2011 survey of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) in the United States reported a total of about 722,000 reported cases, with 75,000 deaths associated with nosocomial infections (7).
Getting to hard-to-reach areas is almost impossible using traditional cleaning methods, especially disinfectant wipes.
Kill rates depend on the time of contact, which is inconsistent across users and circumstances. The thoroughness of reach depends on applied pressure and attention to detail. Wet wipes, mists, swabs, and topical sprays can damage sensitive electronic devices and leave behind toxic residue.
Other methods that include UV disinfection can be inconsistent, proving ineffective in shrouded areas. Pathogens persist on surfaces after improper disinfection practices, allowing easy transmission to patients.
The variations in approach from hospital to hospital, in addition to the need for standardized disinfection protocols, require an effective disinfection strategy that is not only easily repeatable but consistent.
There is now increasing evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of disinfection measures in reducing pathogen transmission, preventing HAI’s, and improving patient outcomes (3). This can drastically reduce the number of difficult-to-treat infections caused by antibiotic-resistant organisms, thereby reducing reported patient morbidity and mortality.
GloTran’s hydrogen peroxide gas plasma technology works to drastically reduce the number of difficult-to-treat infections caused by antibiotic-resistant organisms, thereby reducing the prevalence of HAIs in outpatient clinics, hospitals, dental offices, long-term care facilities, or anywhere hard-to-kill pathogens present a danger.
It’s safe, effective, and easy to use, operating on fully automated cycles to minimize operator error.
This technology can disinfect most materials that are non-cellulose-based, including electronics. There’s no steam or threat of water damage of any kind with GloTran like there are with other disinfectors.
Interested in seeing how your facility can take advantage of GloTran’s dry, low-temperature disinfection technology? Then schedule a meeting with one of our disinfection experts to see how GloTran’s ability to kill pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi on surfaces can prevent HAIs in your medical facility!
For staff and residents alike, electronics like tablets and smart devices have become commonplace in care facilities, allowing for quick access to critical patient information and providing the ability to monitor visitors and residents inside their facility.