Implementing UV Disinfection and Impact on EVS Workflow- September 23, 2016

Environmental Service Professionals (EVS) are on an ongoing mission trying to achieve optimal cleaning practices. The goal of this mission is clear and many EVS staff are aware of current studies validating that simply touching contaminated surfaces can transmit pathogens.

Many “no touch” technologies are becoming commonplace in healthcare facilities to enhance manual cleaning. One current technology showing great promise and return on investment is whole room UV disinfection.  This is a new tool that is being implemented into the current daily workflow of the EVS department.  Understanding the benefits and limitations of whole room UV disinfection is an essential part of implementing this technology. Energy, Time, and Distance all play a key role in determining the amount of time it takes to complete a treatment and what type of efficacy can be expected.

Energy and time have a direct relationship to “UV dosing”. Studies have shown to reduce MRSA by 99% on a hard surface using UV requires 6,600 MW/cm2 of energy and C. diff. requires 22,000 MW/cm2. Applying the correct “dose” in a variety of treatment areas can be a tricky science. Each brand of UV device has its’ own approach in determining and maintaining a consistent and effective dose from one treatment room to the next.

Some manufacturers use the “one tool fits all” approach and are timer based systems that only claims “line of site” disinfection. This means that only direct surfaces are being disinfected properly and shadow surfaces are not being treated, regardless of room characteristics. Second generation UV disinfection systems measure the characteristics of the treatment area and deliver a calculated dose of UV energy taking into account the shadowed surfaces. By measuring the energy in the room, some systems are able to achieve both “line of site” and shadowed disinfection. Having a system that can deliver the same consistent dose regardless of room characteristics reduces possible errors caused by the EVS staff trying to make a determination of treatment cycle times.

Because UV energy degrades by the law of Inverse Square, distance is very important when eradicating pathogens with UV. The further the surface away from the UV energy source the more time it is going to take to disinfect. Using multiple UV devices placed within the treatment area shorten the distance to objects in the room and eliminates shadows. By providing linking systems that communicate with each other and run off of independent electrical circuits, the operator can achieve faster and more effective treatments.

When implementing a whole room UV disinfection system the EVS department needs to consider how labor will be allocated. There are very few healthcare facilities that hire additional staff to perform UV treatments, most add the new tasks to the current resources available.  Single placement positioning systems using a calculated dosing allows the operator to leave the treatment area and preform other tasks while the treatment is the process. Multiple placement devices require the EVS personnel to stay in close proximity to the treatment area so they can move the device within the room every 5 to 10 minutes.

UVC Cleaning Systems Inc. designs and manufactures equipment that uses the least amount of labor and performs a consistent and effective treatment every time. Using the single placement approach with the option of running multiple wireless linked devices that can reduce treatment time and increase efficacy. EVS department resources are limited and choosing the right tool to implement can be difficult. When implementing, consider how energy, distance, and time are going to effect workflow and operations.

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