It has come to the attention of hospital administrators (HA) that hand-hygiene rates in hospitals throughout the country are abysmal. Despite the many efforts on the part of hospital epidemiologists and infection control practitioners, it seems nearly impossible to get clinical staff, especially physicians, to wash their hands consistently and effectively. This is particularly disconcerting to administrators tasked with fiscal responsibility due to the 2008 federal ruling that states the treatment of hospital acquired conditions, such as nosocomial infection, will no longer be reimbursed by Medicare. In an effort to decrease the potential loss in profits since the ruling, HA’s are looking at medical technologies that will make up for the lack of proper hand-washing by their staff and also successfully keep rates of hospital acquired infections (HAI) low.
A medical technology company that is looking to fill in that hand-hygiene gap is San Antonio-based Xenex Disinfection Services. This company uses PX-UV, a patented UV technology administered by robotic methods to eliminate pathogens that are known to cause HAI. Xenex collaborated with Dr. Chetan Jinadatha, MD MPH, Chief of infectious diseases at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System in Temple, Texas, to conduct a study to highlight the efficacy of Xenex’s disinfection system to eliminate aerobic bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, from high contact surfaces in a hospital room. The results of the study, entitled, “Can pulsed xenon ultraviolet light systems disinfect aerobic bacteria in the absence of manual disinfection?” were recently published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC).
The results indicated that a significant reduction in the rates of pathogen contamination on frequently-touched surfaces is possible with the use of the Xenex device. Study conclusions also showed that the concentration of pathogens on surfaces does not have a negative impact on the system’s efficacy.
In response to the results of the trial, in a hospital press release, Dr. Jinadatha, stated, “There have been studies on how pulsed UV works alongside manual cleaning. We wanted to see how it performed by itself. The pulsed UV was just as effective as manual cleaning. Levels of bacterial colonies were reduced to no more than 20 or so colonies per room. Of course we’re not advocating that anyone just use pulsed UV. It should be seen as something that can complement manual cleaning.”
The gold-standard in novel medical device research is to conduct clinical trials in a real-world hospital setting. Xenex has now done this, and the results have been overwhelmingly in the company’s favor with regard to reductions of microbial pathogens in the hospital environment. A study published in the August 2013 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) reported that Cooley Dickinson Hospital experienced a 53 percent decrease in the rate of hospital-acquired C.diff infections after implementing the Xenex system. Another study published in 2013 in the Journal of Infection Prevention reported that Cone Health experienced a 56 percent reduction in its rate of hospital-acquired MRSA infections after implementing an infection prevention program that included Xenex’s disinfection system. In addition, a study published in the June 2014 issue of AJIC reported that Westchester Medical Center experienced a 20 percent decrease in HAI rates after implementing the Xenex system.
This latest AJIC study adds to the growing body of literature the company has invested in to provide HA with an efficacious alternative to their current infection prevention programs.