UV based technology can achieve the right log reduction, provided it is being used properly. UV based light is a disinfection method, and will never remove visual debris from the surface of medical equipment. Where there is visual debris, disinfection will not occur. In order for UV based light to reach the surface, proper pre-cleaning must take place. Suppliers and manufacturers write protocols for this, which can be carried out by means of training, certification, repetition and audits. In the medical environment, this is vital for ensuring the reliability of both staff and patients. This human factor of cleaning is not new, and is also common in disinfection with wipes and a washing machine. What are the areas of concern in the cleaning process?
The comparison of UV based technology with commonly used disinfection methods
Cleaning and disinfection in the medical world is often done by means of disinfecting wipes and disinfection machines. Part of this processis manual: with disinfecting wipes, the user must pre-clean with a wipe before disinfecting with another wipe. As such, proper training is pantamount.
When cleaning and disinfecting in a disinfection machine, a manual pre-cleaning is first performed by trained employees. In this process, the medical device is first treated with a cleaning solution and subsequent cleaned with gauze and brushes. It is rinsed and dried, after which it is placed in the washing machine. In the washing machine, the medical device is thermochemical cleaned and disinfected. Here, it's cleaned again with plenty of water and detergents, and disinfected with chemicals. This method of cleaning and disinfection takes a lot of time and logistical recourses, so good training is needed here.
Training for protocol with UV based light
Pre-cleaning generally remains a completely manual activity - this is the case with disinfection wipes, disinfection machines and with UV based disinfection. Therefore, it's important that there is proper training for users focussed on the protocol and where the user knows exactly what is important and where extra attention is needed. As such, the chance of human error is limited as much as possible, and reliablility can be provided to the patient and employee. Not only is initial education, training, testing and certification extremely important, but so is periodic repetition. Suppliers of flexible ENT scopes, cleaning, disinfection and drying equipment have the most important role in this process.
Certification and annual audits
Upon completion of the training, employees must receive certification. The certification verifies that an individual has the knowledge, skills and decision-making abilities necessary to perform the proper techniques for cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing medical devices. There are practical requirements and a minimum amount of training that must be met to qualify for the certification. In addition to this basic requirement, one can also periodically monitor the quality of the cleaning - and therefore the employee's action - by conducting internal audits.
Cleaning and disinfection in the medical world is done a lot by means of disinfecting wipes and washing machines. But we also have a new method, UV based light, wich can be used very effectively for disinfection. IIn the methods outlined above, pre-cleaning is performed manually. As such, these methods require trained personnel. Through proper education, training, testing, certification and repetition, patient and employee alike can benefit from their reliability. By conducting internal audits, the quality of the cleaning and the employee's action can be checked periodically.
To learn more about UV based technology, read also UV based light in healthcare.