Maintaining air and water quality OR humidity levels are also critical. Steve Ulm, director of marketing, SEMCO LLC, says keeping relative humidity levels below 60 percent decreases risk of HAI. SEMCO’s award-winning Ascendant allows facilities to achieve that goal. “The ASCENDANT can provide humidity levels of 30 percent or lower and it does so saving substantially on energy costs of conventional systems used still today,” Ulm said. “The product uses energy recovery wheels to help in lowering the humidity levels and lower amounts of cooling BTUs from the chillers. By looking at the total system costs not just the equipment costs, a design can be achieved to minimize energy required from existing heating and cooling supplied to the system to achieve a total energy savings of the system.”
APIC member Thom Wellington, Co-founder, Infection Control University (ICU), a cloud-based IP learning and certification center for hospital and vendor employees, says implementing a protocol for not opening OR doors during a procedure reduces SSIs. “Researchers stated ‘door openings affected air contamination, potentially jeopardizing operating room sterility,’”3 said Wellington.
“The highest frequency of OR door openings occurs between wound closure and patient exit. Educating the surgical staff on the impact of door openings to positive pressure and possible air contamination should be performed monthly. Since 17 percent of HAIs are airborne-related and with even one colony forming unit (cfu) of fungi or bacteria-laden migrating dust can cause an HAI, contractors and maintenance personnel working within a healthcare setting need to be trained on how to avoid infecting immunecompromised patients from their work.” Molly McKain, Application Engineer, AquiSense Technologies, says water filtration systems are commonly used to control pathogens such as Legionella or Clostridium but can be expensive due to frequent replacement — and she says the technology removes only larger particles, not small viruses or organic matter.
Ultraviolet technology works too but McKain said “traditional, mercury-based ultraviolet disinfection systems are too cumbersome and energy hungry for intermittent flow, point-of-use applications.
“The state of the art UV-C LED light-sources, AquiSense Technologies’ PearlAqua’s compact design is ideal for such applications,” McKain continued. “The PearlAqua is small enough to be incorporated into medical devices such as autoclaves, patient temperature control systems, or laboratory water. Its third-party validated performance is able to protect the most immune-compromised patients by being part of chemotherapy dosing systems and dialysis machines.”
“This article was published in the June 2016 issue of Healthcare Purchasing News.”