Continuous quality and process improvements are needed related to the cleaning and disinfection of portable medical equipment (PME) in the healthcare environment.  With the increasing adoption of ultraviolet-based disinfection technologies, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer of those new technologies to educate customers on how to optimize the effectiveness of their products.

There should be little question on whether automated solutions have a positive impact on the variability of the human factor.  However, with many ultraviolet-based disinfection technologies, products still need to be manually positioned inside of a room by a healthcare worker.  Because the distance between UV-C light and a target surface has direct influence on effectiveness, how does the healthcare worker consistently control distance?  Technologies that are able to control distance are beginning to emerge.

By controlling the environment where UV-C irradiation is delivered, consistent results can be achieved.  Surrounding a single piece of PME with UV-C light in a pre-defined enclosed space ensures the distance is the same for every cycle.  This produces repeatable UV-C dosage and consistent log10 reductions; furthermore, in order for continuous quality and process improvements to be adopted into a facility, this solves for only one piece of the ecosystem puzzle.  Much like the advent of “smart” devices in a home (TV, doorbell, speakers, etc.), there is huge potential to digitally-connect medical equipment with healthcare workers and administrators.  Doing so should lead to better processes and better protocol adherence.  And improvements in protocol adherence should ultimately lead to a safer environment for patients, visitors, and healthcare workers.

This brings us to the topic of bacterial killing efficacy.  With conventional manually-placed ultraviolet-based disinfection technologies (light emitting outward towards a general target area), efficacy at the 3-log10 reduction level is being achieved in a 14-minute period; not to mention the presence of “shadowing” being nearly impossible to control.  In an automated enclosure setting (light completely surrounding a focused target area emitting inward), efficacy far greater than 3-log10 reduction level is being achieved in a 60-second period with minimal “shadowing”.  This controlled environment is truly leading to consistent results.

To bring things full circle, in order for healthcare institutions to implement better quality and process improvement initiatives, they should consider technologies that not only give them more consistent results, but also technologies that are digitally-connected leading to better protocol adherence.