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How Does UV-C Light Benefit Hospitals? - Reducing HAI Rate

by:LiangYueLiang     2020-02-26

For hospitals, traditional sterilization and cleaning methods can not completely eliminate harmful bacteria, preventing the risk of HAIs. Fortunately, today, we have well-developed ultraviolet light technology to rely on.


HAIs, healthcare-associated infections, are complications of healthcare. They are linked with high morbidity and mortality. As health systems and hospitals struggle to reduce HAIs, there are still quite many harmful pathogens like Clostridium difficile, which may come through traditional disinfectants and manual cleaning processes.

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In order to completely eliminate these pathogens, hospitals now are widely harnessing UV (specifically, UV-C) disinfection technology. Using the UV-C light sterilizer to everyday cleaning processes can effectively kill pathogens and many other microorganisms, reducing HAI rate.


HAIs not only threatens the safety of patients and medical staff, but also becomes a major spend for the hospital due to the longer hospital stays, higher treatment costs, and less reimbursement for procedures. Reducing HAIs is of great significance in today’s value-based medicine. You know, in the US, HAIs ranges tens of billions of direct hospital cost every year.


UV-C disinfection makes up for the deficiency of manual cleaning processes


“Thorough cleaning and disinfection are vital for hospitals to prevent any sorts of infection.” infection prevention experts unanimously agree. However, traditional manual cleaning and sterilization methods are often not ideal in hospitals. That’s where UV light sterilizer comes to help.


Although UV ray is effective in disinfection, it would not completely replace traditional sterilization processes in hospitals. UV disinfection technology is an assistive technology instead. UV-C sterilizer has become a vital part of how hospitals control HAIs rate.


Here are 5 reasons why hospitals should adopt UV-C sterilizing device of patient room or medical equipment:


1. Manual cleaning is inconsistent

It is important for hospitals to have reliable disinfection procedures. Manual cleaning, to some extent, is effective. However, no matter how detailed the standard cleaning procedure is and how meticulous people is, errors occur. It is simply impossible for people to ensure all rooms are cleaned to the same standards and specifications.


With the UV germicidal lamp, such inevitable differences would become less distinct. In short, combining manual cleaning with UV disinfection does better in protecting patients and medical facilities from HAIs.

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2. Manual disinfection could be ineffective

Numerous studies have shown that standard manual cleaning or disinfection can reduce pathogens but can not eliminate all of them, such as c. diffcile. The hospital can not just rely on manual disinfection to fully remove pathogens and prevent HAIs.


3. Antibiotic-resistant microbes can live on the surface for weeks or months

Many pathogens, even viruses, such as norovirus, can survive on the surface for weeks. Lots of studies support the efficacy of UV-C in deactivating a wide range of problematic pathogens, especially antibiotic-resistant strains.


For instance, a study report published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology in 2017 showed that exposing antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli to ultraviolet light could significantly damage their DNA and kill them.


Therefore, in addition to the manual disinfection process, hospitals can also use UV light sterilizers to further eliminate those microbes with a robust life.


4. UV-C light helps sterilize the surface that cleaning cloth and disinfectants might miss.

Using UV-C sterilizer to help clean a patient room can cover where cleaning wipes and chemicals fail to reach.


UV-C disinfection machines serve as a “no touch” method of room sterilization. They can significantly reduce key pathogens inpatient rooms. It is suggested to using UV-C machines to disinfect the terminal room after discharging patients. Things like keyboards, monitors, and workstations on wheels are not easy to thoroughly clean using wipes and chemicals. UV-C technologies minimize the buildup of pathogens overtime in hospitals.


5. Using UV-C for sterilization can better meet patient expectations for cleanliness

Patient room cleaning and disinfection are regarded as very important to patients. A survey of 1,000 patients has shown that a visible commitment to infection prevention impressed them most when they stayed in hospitals.


Utilizing a UV disinfection system can a very evident promise to patients and their families that the hospital is committed to thorough room sterilization as best as they can.



How to effectively operate UV-C devices

1. Most manufacturers of UV devices have tested disinfecting results. Hospital staff can read these manufacturers' white papers to compare quality and determine the efficacy of each machine's ability to reduce pathogens. Distance from surfaces and angle of incidence are two of the most important factors influencing UV-C efficacy.


2. To measure how the device is reducing the formation of bacterial colonies, hospital staff can complete a swab and culture test before and after EVS staff manually disinfect a room and then complete the same test after applying UV. Staff can analyze changes between these results.


3. UV is a surface-only technology and is not an effective solution for soft surfaces, such as curtains. These surfaces still require a separate disinfection process.


4. Hospital staff should monitor the life cycle of their UV light bulbs. The machine may or may not provide a warning when the bulb has been utilized for a long time and is approaching the end of the effective life of the bulb.


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