Innovative Approaches to Combat Healthcare-Associated Infections Using Efficacy Standards Developed Through Industry and Federal Collaboration
Dianne L. Poster, Carl C. Miller, Yaw S. Obeng, Michael T. Postek, Troy E. Cowan, Richard A. Martinello
Nation-wide, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) infect one in every 25 hospital patients, account for more than 100,000 deaths and increase medical costs by around $96-147B, each year. Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) antimicrobial devices are shown to reduce the incidence of many of these HAIs by 35% or more, through the deactivation of the pathogens DNA chain following irradiation with a wavelength of ~254 nm. This irradiation does not kill the cells, per se but effectively prevents the cells from multiplying. Clinical case reductions of 30-70% in Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) have been reported with similar results for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and others. The methodology works, but, the adoption of UV-C technology by the healthcare industry has been sporadic. This is largely due to the lack of definitive knowledge and uniform performance standards or measures for efficacy to help healthcare managers make informed, credible investment decisions. The leveling of the playing field with scientifically certifiable data of the efficacy of antimicrobial devices will enhance acceptance by the healthcare industry and public, at large, as well as facilitate science-based decision making. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has engaged with the International Ultra Violet Association (IUVA) and its member companies and affiliates to explore ways to develop needed standards, determine appropriate testing protocols, and transfer the technology to help to reduce these inharmonious market conditions. Collaborative efforts are underway to develop science-based answers to the healthcare industrys questions surrounding standards and measures of device disinfection efficacy, as well as reliability, operations and durability. These issues were recently discussed at the IUVA 2018 Americas Conference in Redondo Beach, CA in several panel sessions. A major output of the sessions was the formation of a formal IUVA Working Group.