VA hospital uses UV light to reduce HAI

While CDC conducts study on UV light to prevent HAIs
By Diana Manos
10:20 AM

Xenex Healthcare Services, a provider of ultraviolet (UV) room disinfection, has announced that the Veterans Health Care System in central Texas is using its mercury-free UV light technology to disinfect hospital rooms and prevent hospital-acquired infections (HAI).

The Xenex portable room disinfection system was recently featured on VA News, a weekly video program. Xenex officials say the system offers "the fastest, safest, and most cost-effective method for the automated disinfection of healthcare facilities."
In an effort to achieve "zero" hospital acquired infections (HAIs) the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System (Central Texas VA System) is using Xenex’s pulse xenon UV room disinfection system to eliminate the deadly microorganisms (MRSA, Clostridium difficile (C. diff), VRE) that  cause infections.
The Central Texas VA System launched Xenex’s technology in October 2012. Central Texas VA System was one of the first national VA systems to deploy Xenex throughout its acute care facilities. 
Xenex’s room disinfection system uses pulse xenon UV light to destroy viruses, bacteria and bacterial spores in the patient environment without contact or chemicals. Designed for ease of use and portability, a hospital’s environmental services staff can operate Xenex without disrupting hospital operations or requiring the use of expensive chemicals, according to Xenex officials. The Xenex system will disinfect more than rooms per day, so hospitals use the system continuously to reduce contamination levels throughout their facilities.
Chetan Jinadatha, MD, Central Texas VA System Chief of Infectious Disease, discussed the VA’s initiative and how Xenex is being deployed at the Central Texas VA facility. “This technology is so innovative and important. It kills reliably every time,” Jinadatha said in the VA News documentary.
“The VA hospitals are committed to eliminating HAIs and creating a safer, more effective VA healthcare system. We hope that this VA News feature will educate other VA facilities about our pulse xenon UV light technology and how it can make their environment cleaner,” said Mark Stibich, chief scientific officer of Xenex. “Xenex devices have been proven to reduce HAIs and hospitals using our technology are experiencing fewer infections. We are thrilled that the Central Texas VA is being recognized for its innovation in patient safety.”
Jinadatha presented the results of an initial study performed at Central Texas VA System “Evaluation of a Pulse-Xenon Ultraviolet Room Disinfection Device for Impact on Contamination Levels of MRSA” at IDWeek, the combined meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS).
Xenex systems are made in the U.S., and are friendlier to the environment than current housecleaning chemicals or UV systems using toxic mercury, according to Xenex, which bills itself as the only company to offer a xenon-based room disinfection product that is patented, tested, and proven to deliver a germicidal dose of UV-C light capable of killing C. diff in four minutes or less.
Xenex has been proven to be effective against a variety of the most dangerous superbugs, including C. diff endospores, MRSA, VRE, and Acinetobacter. Studies show the Xenex room disinfection system is consistently 20 times more effective than standard chemical cleaning practices. Xenex’s customer Cooley Dickinson Hospital reported 67 percent lower C. diff rates and 100 percent lower C. diff deaths and colectomy rates since adoption of Xenex’s room disinfection system in January 2011. 
According to Xenex, other customers reporting positive results from their usage of Xenex’s room disinfection system include Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, and Cone Health System in North Carolina, which reduced its number of MRSA infections 58 percent in 2011.
Watch the VA News feature on Central Texas VA System's use of Xenex here.

HAI prevention focus of new CDC study

Preventing HAIs with UV light has been the recent focus of federal attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a two-year study that will measure the effectiveness of using advanced, no-touch environmental UV disinfection technology to reduce infections. 

Alamance Regional Medical Center of Burlington, North Carolina, has joined a select group of hospitals participating in the CDC-sponsored infection-reduction study. Tru-D SmartUVC was selected for the study because its automated dose-delivery system has been shown to overcome the inaccurate, human-based cycle timing and poor device placement common to newer UV devices lacking third party efficacy studies essential in delivery of a standard of care. Tru-D SmartUVC eliminates human error to provide consistent, repeatable disinfection outcomes, company officials say.

"For the past three years, hospital-acquired infection (HAI) rates have been dropping at Alamance Regional," says Sara Wall, RN, Infection Preventionist at Alamance Regional. "This study will help us determine if UV light can help us obtain even lower infection rates." 

The elimination of surface contamination within patient rooms is a critical and essential practice in the reduction of HAI's, and an important target for hospitals as associated costs are often non-reimbursed. Yet, facilities are faced with the challenge of eliminating infection-causing germs that are increasingly resistant to chemical cleaners and antibiotic therapies. 

The nine-hospital study will look at four specific pathogens that persist in the hospital environment: MRSA, VRE, C. difficile and Acinetobacter. Patients that present symptoms for these pathogens are traditionally placed on contact precautions, and special chemical cleaning procedures are used to disinfect the environmental surfaces after the patient is discharged.

This story was updated with the CDC study information at 11:06 a.m., Dec. 28.