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Utilization and Communication are key elements to a successful UVC disinfection program

By: Alice Brewer

In order to have a successful UVC disinfection program, several steps must be taken to ensure that a hospital maximizes its investment in the infection prevention technology. Among those include a bundled approach to infection prevention, a comprehensive program with buy in from all departments, communication and education as well as monitoring usage and utilization.

It Starts with Education

When implementing a UVC disinfection program, communication is key among all stakeholders including environmental services, nursing, bed control and infection prevention. However, it is also important to communicate to your patients and community the benefits of going beyond human capabilities to provide the cleanest, safest health care environment possible.

Educating not only the staff but patients and the community has been key to bringing awareness to the precautions and protocols that Lima Memorial Health System has in place to provide a germ-free environment. The hospital places tent cards in patients’ rooms to let them know that the room has been disinfected with Tru-D prior to their occupancy. Associate education comes in the form of a visual introduction at new-hire orientation. Further, community education happens during conversations that the Lima Memorial Foundation team is able to have with business owners and individuals as well as including Tru-D’s impact on all stewardship reports and messaging campaigns. Tru-D has also been featured in videos, and results are presented for review at health system board meetings.

“We have had extremely positive feedback from clinical associates and the community with the knowledge of the safety that Tru-D is providing for our patients and also our associates,” Victoria Zelayandia, BA, Sodexo Multi-Service GM, ES/LS, Director of Environmental and Linen Services for Lima Memorial Health System, said.

The Importance of Utilization

In addition to communication and education, tracking utilization is equally as important. A study was published regarding Tru-D and its deployment at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (VCU). The study, “Deployment of a touchless ultraviolet light robot for terminal room disinfection: The importance of audit and feedback,” appeared in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The study was independently conducted at VCU, an urban, 865-bed, academic medical center with private and semiprivate rooms. Data was collected during a 25-month period from February 1, 2015-February 28, 2017.

During the study, there were 420,394 patient days and 99,184 admissions. In the study, VCU set a goal of 90 percent utilization of the Tru-D robots for high-risk rooms. Through Tru-D’s real-time usage-tracking features and by educating environmental services on the importance of patient safety, VCU achieved 100 percent utilization. The study stated, “The deployment was performed with structured education, audit and feedback, and resulted in a multidisciplinary practice change that maximized the UV disinfection capture rate from 20% to 100%.” From February 2015 until January 2017, two Tru-D robots were used, and in mid-January 2017, two additional robots were purchased.

“This study is a testament to the process of implementing a successful UVC disinfection program and maximizing utilization,” said Alice Brewer, Director of Clinical Affairs for Tru-D SmartUVC. “VCU was ultimately able to achieve 100 percent utilization on the highest risk rooms due to Tru-D’s data portal along with our strategic approach to Program Management.”

Improved Community Perception

Prior to having the Tru-D robots within the hospital, Lima Memorial was nationally rated as one of the best hospitals in the United States for infection prevention.

“Our Tru-D robots have elevated our commitment to safety to a whole new level, and our community recognizes that,” Pam Lawrence, Infection Control Practitioner for Lima Memorial, said. “Adding Tru-D to our already robust infection prevention program demonstrates Lima Memorial’s commitment to a safe and germ-free environment for our patients and associates. Community members take pride in knowing the far-reaching impact their donations continue to have on the health and safety of our patients.”

A Bundled Approach to Infection Prevention

UVC disinfection is an important tool for any facility to use in its infection control protocols; however, emphasis must also be placed on hand hygiene, antibiotic stewardship and manual cleaning. With a comprehensive, strategic plan in place, facilities can expect to see HAI rates decrease while patient outcomes improve.

If these priorities are met, together with education and communication surrounding a UVC disinfection program and monitored utilization of the technology, hospitals are able to provide the safest environments possible for their patients and staff.

Alice Brewer, MPH, CIC is the Clinical Affairs Director for Tru-D SmartUVC. Alice Brewer has spent 10 years as an epidemiologist in both the pharmaceutical industry and health care.