Air-Cleaning Options for Facility Hygiene Purification systems and UV-C technology help reduce the spread of infectious particles BY SCOTT JACKSON, HERB FORD AND LOUISE WALLACE
Now that we know that COVID-19 can be airborne during medical procedures that generate aerosols, implementing technologies and best practices that limit the potential exposure of patho- gens in aerosols has become essen- tial. Two primary ways to accomplish that: using air purification systems and UV-C technology.
Air purification systems help reduce the spread of airborne infec- tious particles, which can be transmit- ted by direct contact, indirect contact, and droplet and airborne transmission. When dealing with viruses, single air pass kill rates are critical to mini- mizing the risk of cross-contamina- tion. Two key factors to consider when using technology to reduce airborne and droplet virus exposure are control- ling the airflow to take the danger away from the breathing zone and purifying the air as it passes through the unit in a single air pass. Controlled airflow drags contaminated air away from the breath- ing zone, replacing it with air that has been purified. Then the purified air is released from the top, pushing contami- nated air to the floor and the fan drags it back toward the unit that creates direc- tional and controlled airflow. Along with air purification, UV-C disinfection technology is another best practice ASCs can implement to help ensure patient and staff safety. While improved cleaning and disin- fection might reduce the risk of patho- gen transmission, evidence has shown that manual cleaning alone might not
always be adequate, as outcomes can be highly variable based on products, procedures and compliance. UV-C disinfection has evolved as an adjunct approach to enhance envi- ronmental disinfection effectiveness by reaching surfaces that might be missed in the manual cleaning pro- cess. It has demonstrated effectiveness across a broad spectrum of pathogens including bacteria, viruses (enveloped and small non-enveloped) and spores, such as Clostridium difficile. When choosing UV-C disinfection technology for a facility, consider sev- eral different factors to find a device that best meets your needs.
1. Efficacy a. Do cycle times enable effective patient flow between cases?
b. Does the device kill pathogens of concern in realistic contact times?
c. Does the device effectively direct energy to both horizontal and ver- tical surfaces?
2. Safety a. Does the device
safety features to prevent the risk of UV-C exposure?
3. Portability a. Is the device easy to transport and compact enough to use and store in tight spaces?
b. Can staff handle the unit easily?
4. Durability a. Will the device stand up to repeated use in terminal/between-case cleanings?
b. Are the device and bulbs protected during transport and storage?
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5. Usability a. Is the device easy to set up, reposi- tion and operate?
b. How long is the room out of service?
6. Affordability a. What is the total cost to operate the device, including the device purchase price, operating cost and maintenance?
b. Is a warranty/service contract pro- vided? How long? How much?
7. Manufacturer support a. What training, support and tools are provided to ensure a smooth implementation?
b. What reporting tools are provided? c. What is the ongoing support for service and repair?
As we move into the “next normal,” patients, staff and visitors will demand a safer environment of care. By imple- menting these best practices, patients might feel more comfortable about scheduling appointments and taking control of their health. For facilities interested in bolster-
ing efforts to create a safer and more satisfying environment of care, these solutions can provide added assur- ance to manual cleaning and disinfec- tion while also lowering risk for staff and patients.
Scott Jackson is a senior director of ASC business at Henry Schein Medical in Greenville, South Carolina; Herb Ford is a UV specialist at Diversey Healthcare in Nashville, Tennessee; and Louise Wallace is the chief executive officer of Radic8 in Cape Town, South Africa. Write them at Scott.Jackson@ henryschein.co
m and firstname.lastname@example.org
The advice and opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors and do not represent official Ambulatory Surgery Center Association policy or opinion.
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