Peeling Back the Onion: A Layered Approach to Environmental Disinfection
Welcome to a six-part blog series highlighting the benefits of a layered approach to cleaning and disinfection. Like an onion, there are several layers to a successful program. This series will address the various considerations for a surface disinfection program, the impact of human factors engineering, and the implementation of a layered approach.
The State of the Practice: Surface Disinfection Touchpoints
The healthcare environment is a dynamic, fast-paced reservoir for unwanted microorganisms, so the need for efficient and effective cleaning and disinfection is paramount. Unfortunately, these microorganisms can survive for weeks to months on healthcare surfaces.
Research has also found there is no statistical difference in the level of surface contamination regardless of the surface being classified as low-, medium-, or high-touch1. This highlights the importance of cleaning and disinfection being performed in a consistent and compliant manner across all surfaces.
Selection of the best product for your facility can be challenging. Rutala, et al., highlights the key properties to consider when selecting a chemical disinfectant: microorganism kill claims that are relevant to the healthcare environment, appropriate wet-contact and kill times, safety, ease of use and customer support, reasonable cost, and standardized use2.
Similarly, the implementation of UVC technology brings its own criteria that need to be considered. Some UVC disinfection methods rely on a fixed cycle time and/or multiple positions around the room which can lead to inefficient disinfection and missed areas. It’s important to choose a UVC device that has been shown to provide significant microorganism reduction, minimizes human error, and is validated by sound science.
As stated, it is critical to maintaining the cleanest healthcare environment possible. The selection of appropriate products is one component of successful surface disinfection; another important component includes compliance with the process. The human factors engineering framework is critical to understanding the intersection of product and process. Part 2 of this blog series will discuss the impact of human factors on EVS.
- Weber, David J., Deverick Anderson, and William A. Rutala. “The role of the surface environment in healthcare-associated infections.” Current opinion in infectious diseases4 (2013): 338-344.
- Rutala, William A., and David J. Weber. “Selection of the ideal disinfectant.” Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology7 (2014): 855-865.