New technology that helps hospitals clean up their act

New technology that helps hospitals clean up their act

Consider this: A patient checks into your hospital for a routine procedure, like a few stitches in a minor wound. After a few days, the stitches haven’t improved – in fact, the abrasion has become irritated and inflamed – and he or she has developed a fever. The patient was an otherwise healthy individual, so what happened? Chances are, the hospital didn’t take the right precautions and the patient contracted a hospital-acquired infection (HAI). What’s more, that patient may have infected other individuals beyond the facility or even the staff themselves.

“SteraMist is poised to change the way hospitals and other spaces disinfect their facilities.”

One would think that hospitals are completely immune from disease transmission – that staff members take every possible precaution in order to prevent patients from contracting additional infections and viruses during their stay. In most cases, nurses and doctors do emphasize the use of sterilized equipment and practice constant hand-washing, but that does not prevent every type of pathogenic or bacterial illness from spreading.

However, a new hospital disinfectant called SteraMist™ from TOMI™ Environmental Solutions could be the answer. Using state-of-the-art Binary Ionization Technology® (BIT™), SteraMist was originally developed to neutralize weaponized anthrax and is poised to change the way hospitals and other spaces disinfect their facilities.

Hospitals need to crack down on disease transfer
Airborne viruses remain a dangerously elusive target when it comes to HAIs. But hospitals don’t include air decontamination on the list of essential steps to limit the spread of HAI, concentrating instead on surface disinfection. The reasons for this are not clearly delineated, but may have to do with the burden of basically fumigating a room after a patient leaves – it can be time-consuming and costly.

The most prevalent recent example of the dangers of HAIs is the Ebola scare that resulted in a number of nurses contracting the deadly virus through contact with patients in the hospital. While Ebola is not an airborne virus, its spread occurred from the lack of adequate sterilization techniques. These weren’t small, rural hospitals, nor untrained, ill-equipped staff. It goes to show that even the most technically-proficient and well-trained hospital employees are still at risk. And if the staff is at risk, the patients most certainly are, as well.

One facility that remains on the alert for Ebola and other HAIs is Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey – a densely- and diversely-populated state. Though the initial Ebola scare has died down, the threat lingers – not just of deadly diseases like Ebola but of any HAI, reported Inside Jersey Magazine.

“The Ebola spread occurred from the lack of adequate sterilization techniques.”

“With Ebola, not donning or doffing your personal protective equipment properly could expose medical personnel, and no one was exactly sure how the nurses in Texas contracted it,” John Matsinger, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Virtua, told Inside Jersey Magazine. “In terms of treating it, you can’t attend to it with normal staff or procedures. It requires additional resources and whole wards to take care of one patient. And it raised issues about whether the staff treating patients could or should be allowed to go home. It really made us take a step back and look at our processes.”

The officials at Robert Wood acknowledged that the chances of contracting Ebola are far lower than those of the flu or other common diseases, but that only serves as more reason to ramp up efforts to control HAI spread.

A clean hospital is a safe hospital.A clean hospital is a safe hospital.

SteraMist may be the key to a cleaner, safer hospital
What hospitals need is an all-encompassing system that can quickly, effectively, and safely eliminate pathogens and bacteria from an entire space. Such a solution could have far-reaching uses within a number of settings, provided the users were trained and instructed on proper protocol.

TOMI’s SteraMist BIT is a product with the potential to do just that. Developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as a first response against anthrax, SteraMist BIT uses Activated Ionized Hydrogen Peroxide (AIHP) to create Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) to disinfect any surface in only a few minutes, start to finish, without any noxious fumes or chemical residue – only water vapor and oxygen – humidity.

An as EPA registered Hospital-Healthcare Disinfectant, this technology can be administered to virtually any space. As a result, SteraMist is not only effective in disinfecting the patient room, but any room, vehicle, closet or area that has come in contact with potentially harmful agents.

In this way, hospitals may soon enter a new era of cleanliness and safety, helping to cure patients of the existing ailments without causing new ones.