Mary Parry is COO at Oneida Health Systems, a healthcare network that includes a 101-bed acute care hospital, 160-bed extended-care and short-term rehab facility as well as a multitude of primary and speciality care practices in Central New York. She oversaw the implementation of Oneida's successful UVC disinfection program.
Shining a light on hospital-acquired infections
Harnessing the power of ultraviolet light to improve patient safety
MP: It goes without saying that infection rates can negatively affect patient safety, patient experience, and the organization's overall financial sustainability, so reducing infection rates has always been a priority for us.
It's a multidisciplinary approach. While our clinicians – doctors, nurses and pharmacists – are working on antibiotic stewardship, hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment, our EVS team is focused on the environment as a whole. Even using standard protocols, there's an opportunity for bacteria to be missed. We looked into UVC as an opportunity for improvement. Tru-D was the obvious choice because we wanted something that was easy to use and reduced the probability of human error. We love the fact that our Tru-D robot doesn't need to be repositioned to disinfect a specific area within a room. We were able to take the benefits to our foundation's board to secure investment, bolstered by an adjunct belief that this is needed for our disinfection regimen.
MP: The implementation process was simple. Tru-D came in with their team and trained our entire EVS department, as well as provided training for our supervisors who would become trainers themselves. Our team loved the training – it was very hands-on. Since then, the Tru-D team has been available to answer any questions or address service issues.
We have a high quality EVS team who maintains our environment of care very well. The use of Tru-D has provided our staff and patients with the confidence that we are keeping our clinical areas disinfected by using this state-of-the-art technology.
We currently use Tru-D in all four operating rooms, following the final clean of the day by our staff. We also use it in our obstetrics areas. Any time a patient's condition requires us to take isolation precautions, we make sure to use the device in their room once they've completed their stay, both in our hospital and our extended-care facility. We don't just use it in our patient rooms – we've made it a habit to follow patients who are on isolation and disinfect other areas they may visit. For example, if a patient on isolation gets a CT scan, we make sure to disinfect the CT.
MP: Our mission has always been to provide the highest quality of care, and adding UVC as an adjunct cleaning process gives us another tool to keep the environment disinfected. We've always been proud of our low infection rates, but the real goal was to reduce them even further.
The ROI has been our increased confidence in our clean environment. In 2016, our C-Diff rate was 0.61. After we implemented UVC disinfection in 2017, it dropped to 0.18. Though actual cost savings from HAI avoidance can be difficult to quantify, we know from national statistics that HAIs can cost an average of $15,000, so we do believe those savings are real.
What's great about our program is not only are we getting state-of-the-art hardware, but our EVS team is also empowered with robust analytics. The platform is very user friendly and allows us to generate useful reports that can show us where the device is being useful and where we may need to apply it more often.
MP: We believe we are fostering a culture of safety, quality, and trust. We are delivering on our mission to provide the highest quality of care to our community. An investment like this further shows our commitment to patient care for both staff and our community by using the best technology available to produce high quality outcomes.
We showed off a training unit of the device at an event celebrating the grant from our foundation that funded the technology. Because of that event, we frequently get asked about Tru-D by our board members and other community members. When patients ask about it, we'll often send over an EVS team member to speak to them about how the technology works and what we've accomplished by using it.
The EVS team loves Tru-D, and I think they see it as an extra dose of confidence. Our bedside nursing staff are also highly appreciative. They feel extra confident that not only did housekeeping go in and clean the room, but it was also disinfected using sophisticated technology. They feel more comfortable in admitting the next patient to that area.
To learn more about Tru-D SmartUVC, please visit www.tru-d.com.