Germicidal Robots and Other Ways To Reduce Hospital Germs | RxEconsult Team | RxEconsult

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3 Ways Hospitals Help Reduce Germs Category: Bacterial Infections by - December 26, 2017 | Views: 2581 | Likes: 0 | Comment: 0  

Robots may be the latest high-tech weapon in hospitals' war against germs, HealthDay News reports. Vanderbilt University Medical Center has begun sending in robots to do follow-up sterilization after normal sterilization procedures were done. The robots immerse the room with ultraviolet radiation that can catch germs that are still active after standard sterilization procedures. Robots can sterilize rooms more thoroughly than humans can, without courting the risk faced by human cleaners. Use of germ-killing robots can lower typical healthcare-associated infections by 30 percent, a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention says.

Germicidal robots are just the latest innovation supplementing an extensive series of tactics and tools medical facilities used to protect their staff and patients from germs. Here are three standard steps that hospitals take to help reduce the spread of germs.

Proactive Procedures

To assist healthcare facilities with ensuring a safe environment, the CDC has published extensive guidelines for disinfection and sterilization procedures. One of the most important procedural principles is training healthcare workers about the risks of infection exposure and how these risks can be reduced by wearing proper protective equipment. The CDC recommends adopting policies that require hospital staff to use protective equipment and to avoid dangerous chemicals. Other guidelines cover how to sterilize equipment and surfaces, ship and store sterile items, and clean patient-care instruments and devices. The CDC also recommends using quality control procedures to test how well guidelines for disinfection and sterilization are being implemented.

The CDC's extensive guidelines cover a total of 20 types of procedural areas. Many of the center's recommendations are regulated by the healthcare industry. Hospitals also have their own policies and procedures to enforce a clean environment.

Sterilizing Technology

Vanderbilt's use of sterilization robots illustrates another strategy hospitals are using to keep their facilities cleaner. The disinfection robot market is on track to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 37.36 percent between 2017 and 2021, Research and Markets projects. The most common category of disinfectant robots kills infections on surfaces by spraying ultraviolet C-light hydrogen peroxide mist. Performing this procedure takes a significant amount of time, so it is currently used mainly for operating rooms, intensive care units and burn units.

Hospitals are also using high-tech tools to monitor workers and enforce hand sanitizer policy. Hospital workers are bound by hand hygiene regulatory policies, but compliance rates are typically less than 50 percent. Medical equipment producer Hill-Rom has created a wearable, badge-based hand washing monitoring system that triples compliance levels. The badges record hand hygiene data, enabling analysis of the data on an individual, group, and institutional levels. The technology also sends alerts to remind staff members to wash their hands.

Smart Procurement Policies

Manufacturers of healthcare products help support sterilization by using special processes to keep materials free of germs during production and shipment. For example, medical seals manufacturer, Apple Rubber, produces sterile o-rings by using a special cleanroom with a dedicated mold inspection space for making, washing and packaging products. Apple Rubber also uses special materials such as Liquid Silicone Rubber, which has properties such as temperature and tear resistance that make it resistant to infection.

After sterile equipment has been produced, special containers and shipping and storage procedures are used to keep it clean. Companies such as DuPont produce special sterile medical packaging materials to keep medical supplies safe during shipment and storage. Once materials arrive at medical facilities, they are handled by a special unit known as a central sterile services department to ensure that equipment stays sterile until use.

Following industry hygiene procedures, using sterilization technology such as robots, and using sterile equipment such as specially customized o-rings are three strategies medical facilities employ to help minimize and contain germs. By deploying these strategies, hospitals keep their buildings cleaner and their staff and patients safer.


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