Adding to the arsenal

30-Sep-2010

The next-generation solution in the war against “superbugs” has just been launched in the United States. Infection Prevention Technologies reveals its latest weapon

The next-generation solution in the war against “superbugs” has just been launched in the United States. Infection Prevention Technologies reveals its latest weapon

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are among the leading causes of preventable death. In hospitals, they are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. In addition to the substantial human suffering caused by HAIs, the financial burden attributable to the infections is staggering.

Hospitals, surgical centres, schools, prisons and similar institutions have been battling a growing number of pathogens or “superbugs”, such as MRSA, that have adapted and developed resistance to common antibiotics. In the US alone, the Center for Disease Control reports that:

  • One in every 20 patients contracts an infection in the hospital, causing 99,000 deaths each year.
  • An estimated 1.7 million healthcare-associated infections in hospitals each year cost the industry US$30bn annually.
  • Data from intensive care unit patients show that 28% of the bacteria that most frequently cause HAIs are resistant to the preferred antibiotics for treatment.
  • Hospital associated pathogens and Multi Drug Resistant Organisms (MDRO) survive in the healthcare environment for up to two months.
  • Patients have a much greater risk (>200%) of acquiring a MDRO when the room was occupied by a patient who had the organisms previously, even after “terminal cleaning”.

To combat these superbugs, Infection Prevention Technologies (IPT) has recently introduced a mobile Intelligent Room Sterilization system (Model IRS3200m) that improves the process of terminal cleaning. The ultraviolet flux treat exposed surfaces in minutes without chemicals.

The company, which is currently seeking a European partner to assist in the marketing of its products, is based just outside Detroit, Michigan.

IPT has developed two powerful weapons that work together and are aimed directly at this problem. First, the IRS 3200M standardises room treatments by automating the process and is designed to deliver a 3 to 6 log reduction in colony forming units on all exposed surfaces within an enclosed space. All exposed surfaces and room air are treated simultaneously, eliminating human error in the manual terminal cleaning process.

Second, the IRS 3200 incorporates Steri-Trak, which provides documentation and related reports of treatment location (bar coded rooms), operator, treatment time and treatment success or failure.

To understand how the IRS 3200m and Steri-Trak will affect healthcare, it is vital to comprehend the current difficulty in eliminating multi-drug-resistant pathogens from the environment of care.

Infection Prevention Technologies (IPT) has introduced a mobile Intelligent Room Sterilization system (Model IRS3200M) that improves the process of terminal cleaning

Infection Prevention Technologies (IPT) has introduced a mobile Intelligent Room Sterilization system (Model IRS3200M) that improves the process of terminal cleaning

Every guidance document on HAI elimination recommends meticulous cleaning and disinfection of the patient care environment. Multi-drug-resistant pathogens survive on surfaces for weeks or months. Although the organisms don’t have the ability to hop up off the bed rail to colonise patients, caregivers and patients touch contaminated surfaces and then themselves or one another.

There are thousands of interactions between caregivers and patients and the environment of care in any given facility on any given day. MDROs wait on a surface until they are lifted up and taken to their final destination, the susceptible host.

Rising healthcare costs have prompted payers to increase focus on preventable conditions. In recent years a proliferation of technologies ranging from microfibre clothes to fluorescent tracking dyes have been introduced to aid in the meticulous cleaning of the environment of care.

Indeed, as several recent studies have revealed, the meticulous cleaning of the environment of care is difficult to achieve. In 2008, a study published by the department of veterans affairs medical centre demonstrated that 78% of rooms with Clostridium Difficile Associated Disease (CDAD) patients were colonised with Clostridium difficile after the terminal cleaning process.

In the same year, researchers also revealed that disinfecting wipes were more likely to spread pathogens than to eliminate them. Achieving meticulous cleaning is elusive but it is even harder to know when it has been achieved.

Given the number of patient discharges or transfer events, healthcare facilities don’t have the time or resources to culture every patient care space after every patient interaction. Nor is it realistic to follow cleaning staff around the hospital to ensure that all high touch surfaces are correctly disinfected. Certainly there is a level of soil that may be readily observed, but no one is able to see the invisible pathogens that may remain after a hasty terminal clean.

Patients known to harbour an MDRO are isolated and put into droplet or contact precautions. But we still don’t always know when a patient is colonised by an MDRO, nor when a patient poses a risk to the next occupant of a room. Knowing what is being done to mitigate risk is important enough to attain the level of a priority recommendation in the Health and Human Services agenda to combat HAIs.

The IRS 3200m system provides process standardisation, empowering hospital management to know that the room has been thoroughly treated and provide the documentation to back it up. It offers complete and timely automation for surface treatment and Steri-Trak provides a rock-solid “chain of custody” approach to documenting that the job is complete.

The system automates the treatment of exposed patient room surfaces and minimises treatment time with its patent pending Balanced Field and Boost technologies. It creates the highest intensity UV-C disinfection flux available in a mobile system, inactivating micro-organisms by the rapid polymerisation of nucleic acids.

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