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Hospital upgrades to fight germs

Posted: October 16, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 16, 2012 2:00 a.m.

The V-360 Degree Room Sanitizer, front, is seen at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

 

Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital has purchased more high-tech equipment to disinfect surfaces and help prevent hospital-acquired infections in critical patient care areas.

Using ultraviolet light technology manufactured by Valencia-based Ultraviolet Devices Inc., the hospital is using the new V-360-Degree Room Sanitizer for all open heart surgery cases at Henry Mayo to keep patients in the cleanest environment possible. The unit is also used in isolation rooms and other critical areas of the hospital.

“We are among the first hospitals in the region to have this technology,” said Mike Parker, director of environmental services at Henry Mayo. “Through this technology, we are providing quality health care and optimum safety to our patients to ensure the cleanest possible germ-free environment.”

Dr.  Gerald Kominski, UCLA’s director for the Center for Health Policy Research, said finding effective interventions to reduce hospital infections is an emerging priority.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that health care-associated infections account for $28 billion to $33 billion in excess health care costs each year.

The portable room sanitizer machine, which can be operated by remote control, uses advanced germicidal ultraviolet technology to disinfect surfaces and remove infectious agents.  

The mobile units disinfect rooms when people are absent and operate on a timer, said Peter Veloz, chief executive officer of Ultraviolet Devices Inc. The length of time determined by the size of the room and how much time it takes to disinfect the space.

Lamps in the machines emit a measured dose of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation by ionizing low-pressure mercury vapor. In short, the ionized mercury, powered by the energy of ultraviolet light, emits an ideal wavelength for breaking down bacteria. A level of radiation kills the germs.

The UV light technology destroys the DNA of single cell organisms within minutes, but motion detectors in the machine shut the sanitizer down automatically if someone enters the room while it is engaged, said a spokesman for the hospital.

Many hospitals have been adopting the V-360 to help fight the serious threat the hospital-acquired infections pose, Veloz said. UV disinfection finishes the job that traditional cleaning methods can’t get to.  

“We are able to reduce C. diff spores by 99.9 percent in 10 minutes, which is the most difficult pathogen to remove,” he said. “This translates to a safer environment for patients.”

C. diff, or clostridium difficile, are spore-forming bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bacteria are easily spread in hospital settings and states have reported increased rates of the infection in recent years.

“We are drawing on our 20 years of UV expertise to bring the power of UV disinfection to hospitals like Henry Mayo,” Veloz said. “Our mission was to make the V-360 the most effective and affordable UV disinfection available so that hospitals can be cleaner and safer throughout.”

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