Friday, December 28, 2018

Ultraviolet Light Disinfection within Doctor's Offices

Risk of Contamination at the Doctor’s

Germs and disease can be spread anywhere, but public places have a higher potential to become a transmission point due to their large transient population. One of the most high-risk public places are doctor’s offices, because of the high volume of sick visitors coming in contact with many items and surfaces. Guidelines for Disease Control and Prevention in the Physician’s Office reveal that tools such as stethoscopes have been shown to be frequently contaminated with antibiotic resistant organisms such as MRSA and VRE1. Stethoscopes are used on most, if not all, patients. Additional studies have determined ballpoint pens, patient charts, tablet computers, computer keyboards and computer mice can also be contaminated with infectious agents. These items are rarely cleaned and can easily transfer disease to patients and staff due to their frequent use and tendency to be shared. In pediatric offices, there is a major concern regarding the toys kept in the waiting area, as contamination of toys by fecal coliforms, rotavirus and other pathogens has been well documented in hospitals, physician’s offices, and day care centers2. Additionally, with sick patients prone to coughing, sneezing, and vomiting, the aerosolization of germs and disease are another area of concern for transmission between patients and to staff.  Not only can infections be spread through the air, but airborne transmission can cause infections to land on surfaces besides the common touchpoints and travel greater distances.

UV Applications within a Healthcare Facility 

Ultraviolet (UV) light provides chemical-free, liquid-free disinfection proven effective against viruses, bacteria, molds, and spores. UV light can be effective on surfaces that are harder to wipe down, such as remotes, knobs, keyboards, etc. When UV light is used, the exposure can be observed through a window to safely and easily determine if critical surfaces are being adequately exposed to light. This is contrary to spray and wipe methods which are extremely difficult to determine if an area has been missed.

In the waiting and exam rooms, the Torch-Aire allows for continuous disinfection of the room’s air.  The device is quiet, effective, and safe to operate continuously throughout the day, even with patients and staff in the room.  The Torch-Aire simply pulls the room air through a UV treatment tunnel which disinfects it and returns it back into the room. Room surfaces can be disinfected by a variety of UV disinfection towers, including the Torch and Torch+.  These UV systems are able to provide a 99% reduction of many harmful organisms within 5 minutes. For areas needing special attention, the Torch-Flex and Torch Double-Flex are capable of applying UV disinfection within tight spaces and focused areas. If a permanent UV system is desired, the Flashbar can be installed in the room to provide an even simpler UV system for routine disinfection.  Components, equipment, office accessories, and even toys, can be placed in a Flashbox, or for smaller items, a Flashbox-mini.  These devices allow items to be placed inside them and quickly be exposed to UV-C light for disinfection in as little as 1 minute.

Relying on cleaners coming in nightly is not enough to provide your patients the best protection from germs that they deserve. Ultraviolet light disinfection methods provide a low cost, simple approach to address areas often unable to be properly cleaned otherwise. In order to provide the best quality of care for patients and reduce the risk of spreading germs, a clean and healthy patient environment is essential. Your patients and staff will all benefit from knowing that they are being protected while in your office. 

1. Canada, Provincial Health Services Authority, BC Centre for Disease Control. (2004). Guidelines for Infection Prevention and Control in the Physician’s Office.

2. Paediatr Child Health. 2008 May; 13(5): 408–419.