Monday, November 30, 2020
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Despite being used for nearly every patient examination, the stethoscope is rarely, if ever, cleaned before being placed on a patient’s body (yes, yours included). A recent article published in Infection Control Today featured an interview with W. Frank Peacock, MD, FACEP, FACC, FESC that discussed the lack of stethoscope disinfection. Dr. Peacock explained, “Only about 4% of healthcare providers clean stethoscopes according to guidelines set down by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the CDC’s guidelines don’t go nearly far enough, saying that stethoscopes should be cleaned once a week.” While four percent compliance is unacceptable, the CDC’s guideline of only disinfecting stethoscopes once a week is also unacceptable. In one week’s time, hundreds of patients can come into contact with the device, easily cross-contaminating pathogens between the sick and the healthy. As Dr. Peacock details, “To do it [disinfect a stethoscope] right, you are supposed to take an alcohol swab and rub it for a minute. And even when you do that, 20% to 30% of the stethoscope will still be dirty.” That low rate of success is not only true for stethoscopes, but other devices and common touchpoints as well. One example being MIT’s study of smartphone disinfection methods which showed sprays or wipes are ineffective in comparison to ultraviolet light, which was capable of eliminating all organisms on the tested devices without the use of chemicals.Flashbox and Flashbox-mini UV-C disinfection chambers for items to sit upon. Quartz glass is one of the few materials capable of allowing UV-C light to penetrate through completely, allowing for the full disinfection of the surfaces resting on the shelving. High level disinfection of a stethoscope or similar item can be as short as 30 seconds depending on the UV-C system being used. Since no chemicals are used with UV-C light, this allows for a wide variety of items to be disinfected including clipboards, cellphones, keyboards, remotes, badges, blood pressure cuffs, even N95 masks.
Disinfecting shared devices and supplies like a stethoscope is simple, quick, and truly a necessity when reducing possible transmission of pathogens. As quoted in ACP Hospitalist, Michael B. Edmond, MD, FACP, MPH, MPA states, “Like anything that we're asking health care workers to do, you have to make it easy for them to actually do it, or your compliance rates will be low.” Just as washing hands was once seen as new and optional but now an obvious requirement, hopefully healthcare providers will disinfect stethoscopes just as regularly and thoroughly.
Monday, November 16, 2020
Thursday, November 12, 2020
A new study by Stanford University and Northwestern University suggests most COVID-19 cases in large cities across the United States stem from visits to just a few types of places. The researchers analyzed hourly cellphone data from 98 million Americans in 10 major cities, tracking their movements to certain non-residential locations or "points-of-interest" while looking at the coronavirus counts in their areas. Based on this information, the published article determined full-service restaurants, gyms, hotels and houses of worship are among the 10 percent of locations that would appear to account for 80 percent of the infections. This determination is not all too surprising as these locations tend to be smaller in size, more crowded, and people dwell there longer. Study co-author and Stanford University Professor Jure Leskovec says “Our work highlights that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing,” suggesting the reduction of these establishments’ capacity to 20 percent, as opposed to shutting them down entirely, could curb transmissions by 80 percent. Also, by capturing who is infected at which locations, the study’s model supports detailed analyses that can inform more effective and equitable policy decisions on how to reopen society safely. More research is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge among other populations and places.
Jacqueline Howard’s CNN article was referenced for this post. The complete published study can be found in the journal, Nature. Contact ClorDiSys for highly-effective disinfection solutions to combat COVID-19 and other harmful pathogens.