It’s no secret that combating healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) continues to be a top priority for the healthcare industry. Understanding and applying advanced technologies like UV disinfection is just one of the ways healthcare organizations are looking to improve their infection prevention initiatives.
Last month, a group of top scientists, healthcare practitioners and UV manufactures met at Yale University to discuss these specific challenges and solutions during the IUVA Healthcare Workshop. As a new member of Klaran’s Field Applications Engineering team I was excited to learn more about the general thinking around UV technology and disinfection for healthcare, and how we can make the biggest impact on patients for hospitals!
Here’s a short synopsis of what I learned at this year’s IUVA Healthcare Workshop.
The conference discussions centered around what implementation of UV disinfection looks like from the perspective of hospitals. With regards to a UV solution, hospitals have three primary requirements:
Medical device and equipment manufacturers that can deliver a product which meets these three requirements- along with a service and training package that ensures the proper use of the equipment- will make it easier for hospitals to adopt this technology.
Many discussions focused on the use of medium/low-pressure mercury lamps in mobile or rolling disinfection units. What I found most interesting here was the underlying concerns about the effectiveness of these systems in high point-of-contact settings and their shortcomings for meeting the lightweight and mobile needs of hospital staff. Given the compact size of UVC LEDs, these two issues can be addressed by offering products that have built-in disinfection capabilities with UVC LEDs.
While UVC LEDs were discussed briefly, there was a general consensus around this technology. Specifically, although LEDs are the ultimate future of disinfection, the technology itself is perceived as being too underdeveloped for practical use today. In other words, it’s just not ready for use in the big-league settings.
We hear this misconception from customers quite frequently and have found that, in most cases, it stems from a lack of UVC LED industry standards and education. According to our surveys, 75 percent of manufacturers who are considering UVC LEDs don’t move forward with their projects because they simply don’t know enough about this technology.
If your company is considering UVC LEDs and you’re looking for in-depth instruction on the how this technology works, we encourage you to learn about Klaran University on-site classes—an in-person, classroom-style seminar on UVC LED technology for disinfection.
There’s still a major roadblock before a solution will be seriously considered by hospitals: clinical documentation. Although many solutions are currently being developed, clinical data that shows the efficacy of these solutions is still being collected. Creating the necessary correlation between UV disinfection and reduction of HAIs is a critical proof point for this industry. Without these published studies, UVC LED-based disinfection will be confined to the R&D departments of major medical equipment and device manufacturers.
Overall, the conference provided compelling discussions and brainstorming for possible solutions. Just as hospitals understand that combating HAIs requires multiple tactics and touchpoints, the key to expanding the adoption of UVC disinfection technology in healthcare depends on a total solution provider approach.