New UV Disinfection Technology aims to eliminate cross-contamination in hospitals

POSTED: Friday, January 25, 2013 - 1:22pm
UPDATED: Friday, January 25, 2013 - 3:20pm

Every day, thousands of patients are admitted to hospitals across the country. And, with each patient admitted, comes the risk of cross-contamination. This occurs when germs are spread from one person to another, creating a chain of prolonged illnesses.

But, what if there were a machine to stop the epidemic?

A new wave of technology is working to end the high percentage of cross contamination that occurs in hospitals across the country daily. Patients and doctors can get one another sick and spread germs without even thinking about it, which is a problem that needs addressing.

"It's dependant on people washing their hands, or making sure that the equipment is clean between every patient, every time. And, it's just a very busy place, and people sometimes get in a hurry," said Elicia Greene, Assistant Chief of Infection Prevention and Control for the Temple VA Hospital.

The new UV disinfection machine emits five minutes of UVC rays, killing hundreds of organisms and spores that standard cleaning techniques miss.

"With one five minute cycle, you can achieve anywhere from 95 to 99 percent disinfection, as compared to human clean, which is about 60 to 70 percent, in spite our best efforts," said Dr. Chetan Jinadatha, Chief of Infectious Diseases for the Temple VA Hospital.

The Temple VA Hospital purchased two of the more than 70-thousand dollar machines recently, making it one of the first VA hospitals in the country to do so. Although the machine may seem pricey, doctors say the cost to own the machines pales in comparison to the cost of un-doing cross-contamination.

"We spend about nine billion dollars in additional healthcare costs, and it is directly related to the infections we cause patients in the healthcare setting," said Jinadatha.

Doctors say every three cross contamination cases equals the cost of one machine. So, in six months, the device generally pays for itself. In the future, the VA hospital hopes to adapt more of the machines.

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