Healthcare News & Insights

UV device can reduce infections in hospitals

If a new device could reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAI) significantly, would your hospital look into purchasing it?

Not sure? Maybe this will help put things in perspective.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the overall annual direct medical costs of HAIs to US hospitals ranges from $28.4 to $33.8 billion (after adjusting to 2007 dollars using the CPI for all urban consumers).

And one of the fastest growing infections is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a superbug that doesn’t respond to most antibiotics.  The CDC estimates that MRSA accounts for 8% of all HAIs.

But MRSA isn’t the only HAI hospitals have to worry about. There are others like Clostridium difficile (C. diff), Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and influenza,  to name a few. And they can be spread as easily as touching a surface that has been contaminated.

Infection reducing devices

Now a new group of devices are available to help hospital lower their HAIs.

These devices are portable disinfection systems that emit bursts of UV light that penetrates the outer coatings of bacteria, viruses, mold and spores.  The light pierces the cell walls and prevents them from replicating.

Used in conjunction with traditional surface cleaning, the process only takes a few minutes and leaves no residue or gas in the room.

In an interview with MedPage Today, Morris Miller, CEO of Xenex Healthcare Services LLC, said most of his company’s customers who use their pulsed-xenon UV lamp do around 30 to 50 rooms a day at a cost of about $3 per room.

In one study at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Xenex pulsed-xenon UV lamp was compared to bleach for the decontamination of C. diff from surfaces in the patient rooms. The study showed a 95% reduction in C. diff when the device was used.

UV lamps don’t replace hand washing and other hygiene precautions healthcare providers normally take, but it’s one way to help lower the incident of HAIs.

Other companies that have UV disinfection devices include Philips Healthcare, American Ultraviolet, TRU-D and Yanex Healthcare.

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