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Proceedings Paper

Innovative approaches to combat healthcare-associated infections using efficacy standards developed through industry and federal collaboration
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Paper Abstract

Nation-wide, healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) infect one in every 25 hospital patients, account for more than 100,000 deaths and increase medical costs by around $96-147B, each year. Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) antimicrobial devices are shown to reduce the incidence of many of these HAIs by 35% or more, through the deactivation of the pathogen’s DNA chain following irradiation with a wavelength of ~254 nm. This irradiation does not kill the cells, per se but effectively prevents the cells from multiplying. Clinical case reductions of 30-70% in Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) have been reported with similar results for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and others. The methodology works, but, the adoption of UV-C technology by the healthcare industry has been sporadic. This is largely due to the lack of definitive knowledge and uniform performance standards or measures for efficacy to help healthcare managers make informed, credible investment decisions. The leveling of the playing field with scientifically certifiable data of the efficacy of antimicrobial devices will enhance acceptance by the healthcare industry and public, at large, as well as facilitate science-based decision making.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has engaged with the International Ultra Violet Association (IUVA) and its member companies and affiliates to explore ways to develop needed standards, determine appropriate testing protocols, and transfer the technology to help to reduce these inharmonious market conditions. Collaborative efforts are underway to develop science-based answers to the healthcare industry’s questions surrounding standards and measures of device disinfection efficacy, as well as reliability, operations and durability. These issues were recently discussed at the IUVA 2018 America’s Conference in Redondo Beach, CA in several panel sessions. A major output of the sessions was the formation of a formal IUVA Working Group for the development of antimicrobial standards and initiatives for the healthcare industry. The goal of this working group is to provide global guidance, with specific programs and deliverables, on the use of UV technologies and standards to combat HAIs and to further the stated aims of the IUVA on its outreach to the healthcare industry. This paper reviews the strong collaboration between NIST and its industry partners pursuing the development of standards, guidelines and guidance documents related to healthcare applications that include standard methods for validating performance of UV devices and test guidelines for efficacy measurements. In addition, an overview of the issues, problems, and a summary of the needs confronting future growth and success of the UV industry in the Nation’s healthcare application space is provided.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 October 2018
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 10730, Nanoengineering: Fabrication, Properties, Optics, and Devices XV, 107301L (5 October 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2500431
Show Author Affiliations
Dianne L. Poster, National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)
C. Cameron Miller, National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)
Yaw Obeng, National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)
Michael T. Postek, National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)
Troy E. Cowan, Vision Based Consulting, LLC (United States)
Richard A. Martinello, Yale School of Medicine (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10730:
Nanoengineering: Fabrication, Properties, Optics, and Devices XV
Balaji Panchapakesan; Anne E. Sakdinawat; André-Jean Attias; Elizabeth A. Dobisz, Editor(s)

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