In the United States, 1 in 25 patients is at risk of hospital-acquired infection, and approximately 72,000 patients with this infection die during their hospitalization. Hospital-acquired infection (HAIs) poses a huge problem and burden to the healthcare system.
There is growing evidence to show that UV technology can reduce the burden of HAIs.
This article discusses the role of UV technology in preventing HAIs and cross-contamination.
Understanding HAIs and Cross-Contamination
Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are infections that patients contract while obtaining treatment in a healthcare setting. These infections may occur when patients receive care in clinical settings, such as hospitals, ambulatory clinics, or nursing homes.
Patients typically acquire HAIs after 48 hours of hospitalization. Examples of common HAIs include:
- urinary tract infections
- surgical site infections
- bloodstream infections
HAIs are of concern to both public health authorities and healthcare workers because of the risk of associated life-threatening complications.
HAIs can spread rapidly and impose a significant risk to the lives of patients and healthcare staff. Also, medical experts advocate the prevention of HAIs because of the possibility of antibiotic resistance and the huge treatment cost of managing HAI cases. For instance,a 2020 study estimated that the costs associated with HAIs are typically up to $25,000 per infection.
Cross-contamination is one of the ways patients contract hospital-acquired infection.
Cross-contamination occurs when infectious organisms are transferred from one individual or object to another via direct contact with contaminated objects or an infected person. Hence, the need for proper infection control measures in a healthcare facility.
Basics of UV Technology in Disinfection
UV-C light destroys infectious microorganisms using electromagnetic radiation at specific wavelengths. UV-C light has antimicrobial properties at a wavelength typically between 200-280nm.
UV-C light works by damaging the nucleic acids and DNA of microbes that are exposed to it. Consequently, UV-C light inhibits cell division and prevents the transmission or spread of pathogens in high-risk environments like in a healthcare setting.
Also, UV-C light can alter the protein molecules in a microbe's cell wall, weakening the organism. As a result, it is easier to eliminate these weakened microbes from surfaces and medical devices.
UV-C light has antimicrobial effects against various pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa.
Role of UV Technology in Preventing HAIs and Cross-Contamination
Hospitals can use UV-C light to disinfect medical devices, surfaces, and specific places. For example, several clinical studies have demonstrated the anti-microbial properties of our UV technology devices—UV smart D25 and UV Smart D60. Our products are effective for disinfecting various semicritical items such as endoscopes and other medical devices.
Studies or evidence showing the effectiveness of UV technology in reducing HAIs and cross-contamination.
Some research studies have demonstrated the role of UV-C light in reducing hospital-acquired infections. In a study published in the American Journal of infection control, a hospital had a 34.2% reduction in the incidence of hospital-acquired infections upon implementing UV-C disinfection in the facility.
Similarly, the NYU Langone Department of Otolaryngology, head and neck surgery noticed that the use of UV Smart D60—our UV-C product was effective in decontaminating the flexible laryngoscopes the surgeons used in the clinic. The department noted that UV-C disinfection was faster, easier, and more resource efficient than their traditional disinfection method.
Research findings from clinical laboratories have also validated the efficacy and effectiveness of UV Smart D60 in eliminating various forms of microbes from medical devices.
Benefits of UV Technology in Healthcare
UV technology has multiple benefits besides its germicidal properties against a wide spectrum of organisms.
Some of these benefits include:
- no consumables
- no water
- highly sustainable
- harmless on materials
- conserves resources like energy
UV technology is essential in infection control in a healthcare facility due to its germicidal properties. UV technology devices can achieve disinfection of medical devices and surfaces without water, chemicals and with minimal energy consumption.
UV technology products assist in reducing the risk of hospital acquired infection due to their potent antimicrobial effects.
Infection control in a healthcare setting requires a multifaceted approach. Hence, achieving a significant reduction in hospital-acquired infections requires combining infection control systems and inputs from infection control experts.