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Ultra-violet light disinfection system fights infections

Published 07/03/2017

At South County Hospital a robotic device was recently added to the Environmental Service staff to help create a virtually germ-free environment in operating rooms, isolation rooms, and other patient areas. Many studies have demonstrated that this technology has a significant role in healthcare environmental hygiene, which includes helping to fight against hospital-acquired infections. 

While manual cleaning and disinfection is a critical step to limiting the spread of germs, studies have demonstrated that less than 50% of hospital room surfaces are adequately cleaned and disinfected leaving patients and staff vulnerable to pathogens. The UV light technology is used in conjunction with manual cleaning processes to eradicate highly resistant bacteria (MRSA, VRE, CRE), viruses, and spores such as C-Diff. The robot is also critical in times of public health concerns, and can be an asset if health threats occur such as the recent Ebola outbreak.

How it works: this UV is a non-chemical light that kills microorganisms by disrupting their DNA, while avoiding genetic changes or the creation of superbugs.

UV light disinfection has been around since 2007, and peer-reviewed studies and published outcomes have been analyzed for the last 4 years, leading to technological improvements. 

Since April, South County Hospital’s operating room, endoscopy suite, isolation rooms, diagnostic imaging and cardiac cath lab have benefited from this technology—and so have the patients.

“An automated measured dose of UVC energy is delivered throughout a room of any size, effectively eliminating human error in the cleaning process,” said Lee Ann Quinn, Director of Infection Prevention. “South County Hospital is one of only two hospitals in the state using this UV light disinfection system in conjunction with its manual cleaning process.”

In addition to the robotic device, South County Hospital installed smaller units that use UV technology to kill pathogens on cell phones and other hand-held devices used in healthcare. Staff and visitors are encouraged to disinfect devices such as pagers, cell phones, tablets, and stethoscopes to reduce the pathogenic load that contributes to the spread of germs.

To learn more about this technology, call the Infection Prevention department at 401-788-1656.