Ensuring the health of America’s military personnel, defense and homeland security staﬀ, TSA agents, and healthcare providers is critical to the safety of our nation. In the United States, there are 1.3 million active-duty personnel, 17.4 million veterans, 50,000 TSA agents, and 240,000 employees of the Department of Homeland Security. More than nine million veterans are served each year by the Department of Veterans Aﬀairs and military health care facilities including 1,074 outpatient sites and 170 VA Medical Centers. Given the sheer size of these groups, minimizing the opportunity for HAI’s should be a top concern for leaders.
While the immediate surge and intense focus on combating the current pandemic might have eased, military healthcare leaders must be ready to combat the next infection risk while also mitigating known pathogens including MRSA, C. diﬃcile, and the current Coronavirus strain. Every outpatient site and VA medical center should be future-proofed for today and tomorrow’s infection risks through a reassessment of processes, procedures, and IP solution investments.
Now more than ever it is critical to ensure that infectious diseases do not spread from surface to surface, room to room, and between military patients.
Infection Prevalence and Mortality Factors
When determining if your military medical facility has the best operations and tools to combat infection, it’s wise to focus on infection-related health concerns that most often occur and most often result in signiﬁcant health outcomes including death. In terms of speciﬁc pathogen focus, according to the Centers for Disease Control:
- One in 31 patients seeking treatment in American hospitals is hit with an HAI each day
- Of those, about half are lung or blood infections
- Pneumonia is very common, particularly post-surgery, with mortality rates as high as 33 percent
- Approximately 30 percent are urinary tract infections, while the remaining 20 percent are surgical wound infections
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are particularly problematic with studies showing one in 20 patients either becoming infected or carrying the infection
- C. diﬃcile infections, the cause of an estimated 15,000 deaths, is also a substantial cause of infectious disease
Eﬀective IP Starts with Strong Military Healthcare Leaders
The honorable Americans that serve and have served rely on military healthcare leaders to ensure their safety, especially when it comes to preventing infections. One of a military medical facility’s most useful weapons against harmful pathogens: infection prevention team leaders. While every military healthcare team member is responsible for patient safety, eﬀective IP leaders help increase awareness and set the tone for a culture of infection prevention. IP leadership need not only be the most senior members of a VA, Department of Defense, or other military medical facility’s staﬀ. To choose great people for IP leadership responsibility, look for these qualities and experience:
- They already hold leadership positions. Department heads, compliance oﬃcers, and nursing leaders are excellent candidates.
- They have clinical expertise. Years of experience and education can serve to inform staﬀ members and equip them with the perspective necessary to head up IP strategy.
- They excel at collaboration. Successful IP strategy requires a team eﬀort—therefore, your IP needs strong team players at the top that can set an example for all other military medical staﬀ.
- They aren’t afraid to innovate. Military IP leadership should be willing to explore technologies that are proven eﬀective in other healthcare environments and deploy learnings gleaned from their civilian healthcare peers.
- They are aware of tools that best prevent infection, including UVC disinfection. IP leaders know that deploying the best UVC hospital room disinfection system can strengthen the infection prevention plan for any site that serves military personnel, defense and homeland security staﬀ, TSA agents, and the healthcare providers that work in these facilities.
- They understand the ﬁnancial implications of eﬀective infection prevention. Better disease prevention is proven to help save money. One study showed that a 20% reduction in C.diﬀ cases using RD UVC could save the average hospital more than $1.3 million annually in healthcare costs; military health operations can expect similar ﬁscal results.
Combatting Infections with a Bundled Approach
The threat of harmful pathogens can be found throughout any military medical facility. To ﬁght these pathogens, it is vital to come up with a bundled infection prevention plan that speciﬁcally addresses military and defense patient populations, and potential risks. A bundled infection prevention incorporates multiple infection prevention tools, is easy to implement, is comprehensive, and is eﬀective.
The ﬁrst line of defense is hand washing and consistent glove protocol for all military base healthcare staﬀ. Manual cleaning and disinfection is another key element of a bundled infection prevention approach. Cleaning and disinfection will reduce, but often does not eliminate, dangerous pathogens. This is where adding the best infection prevention technology, including UVC disinfection, to a bundled approach becomes essential.
Why UV Disinfection for Military Healthcare Facilities?
Studies have conﬁrmed that UV light is an eﬀective addition to manual cleaning eﬀorts and can kill harmful pathogens quickly and eﬃciently. In fact, The American Journal of Infection Control notes that combining UVC technology with manual cleaning is one of the most eﬀective ways to signiﬁcantly decrease the pool of harmful pathogens that cause infection.
Exposure to UVC light kills dangerous microorganisms. The proper dosage of UVC light — for a speciﬁc length of time and intensity — can be used to quickly and eﬃciently disinfect operating room areas and other high-traﬃc spaces within a military medical facility. UVC radiation can only inactivate a virus if the virus is directly exposed to the radiation. The most eﬀective UVC system will measure the actual dosage of UVC delivered to targeted areas throughout a room. This enhances eﬃcacy when compared to time-based UVC exposure. The best UVC systems also automatically capture and report disinfection data. These best-in-class systems enable managers to check real-time status on tablets to ensure the equipment is being used properly and eﬀectively. They also capture and store records via an onboard computer, automatically sending them to a secure cloud system for later analysis and reporting.
Deploying the best UVC hospital room disinfection system can strengthen the infection prevention plan for any site that serves military personnel, defense and homeland security staﬀ, TSA agents, and the healthcare providers that work in these facilities. UV disinfection systems can:
- Act as an adjunct to manual cleaning to help reduce the pool of pathogens present in the patient environment
- Lessen the human error factor by delivering proven, measured doses of UV light to eradicate pathogens
- Improve patient care conﬁdence
- Proactively reduce the additional costs incurred with treating preventable HAIs
Recruiting the Right UVC System for Your Military Needs
Some key considerations when evaluating potential UVC systems for your military medical facility include:
- Select a UVC partner that will comprehensively evaluate your facility to recommend the right solution for your environment.
- Instead of relying on staﬀ to evaluate eﬃcacy before and after cleaning, your UVC partner should oﬀer actual proof of compliance back to your IP team.
- Make sure your UVC system is smart and can monitor bulb life cycle, required delivered dosage, and regular service so you can focus on other parts of your IP plan.
- Ease of use is also a critical factor when selecting the best UVC system. Your staﬀ should be able to incorporate usage into their current routine; a UVC system that’s easier to use means quicker turnaround time and less chance for infection spread.
- Not all environments are perfect rectangles so the best UVC systems address variables such as room shape and other obstacles that might aﬀect how light hits every part of the room.
- Look for a system that oﬀers rapid 3+ Log10 reduction in 2 minutes or less and one that ensures this dosage is being delivered to targeted areas throughout a room. Rapid reduction in total pathogen load within a space minimizes the threat of further spread within a facility.
The RD UVC suite of solutions are the only ones on the market that measure, record, and report the UVC lethal dosage delivered to each part of your military facility. Both the RD UVC and RD-Fx use patented sensors to conﬁrm that the system delivers the right amount of total UVC light to eradicate viruses, bacteria, and spores in each area of the room. Currently, the Navy’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) is using RD UVC to disinfect surface areas and air to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The pilot will determine how MARMC incorporates UVC disinfection into its ﬂeet to keep sailors and the civilian workforce safe.
The original RD UVC is mobile and has a unique “pause and reposition” feature that helps operators ensure every area of the room has received optimal dosage. RD UVC uses proven, patented remote sensors throughout a room that measure and ensure delivery of published UVC doses at all points of disinfection every time. This technology also enables staﬀ to more quickly disinfect and return rooms to service.
The RD-Fx System delivers an ultra-fast and eﬀective UVC dose for killing harmful pathogens without having to be moved or positioned with each use. The wall-mounted system enables rooms to be disinfected between patient cases in as little as two minutes. After delivery, it can be installed by any licensed electrician using the RD-Fx installation manual and Steriliz team support. The powerful, cloud-based reporting system, uniquely conﬁgured for your space by Steriliz experts, provides unrivaled accountability and compliance reporting.
In addition, RD UVC and RD-Fx are the only UVC disinfection systems that record and report a calibrated dose delivered—in real-time—ensuring you have the proof of compliance data needed for potential oversight audits. Critical information like date, time, operator, room number, cycle time, and delivered dose is captured to ensure delivery infection preventing UVC doses throughout the space.
Ready to put the power of UVC disinfection to work in your military base healthcare facility?
Call 855.882.2013 or Request A Quote online
Steriliz, LLC is a leading manufacturer of UV disinfection technology, with headquarters in Rochester, NY and offices in Franklin, TN. Steriliz, LLC manufactures the Rapid Disinfector UV-C Disinfection Systems used to eradicate potentially harmful pathogens in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other environments with dangerous pathogens. The Rapid Disinfector is the only UV-C disinfection system available with the ability to measure, record and report the actual UV-C doses delivered.
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Originally published on Oct 18, 2021 at 02:00