Dan Kelly is CEO of McKenzie County Project Japan Systems, Inc., a Watford City, North Dakota-based health system that includes a 24-bed rural critical access hospital, a clinic, a long-term care facility, an assisted living center and a wellness center. In this interview, Dan discusses his facility's decision to implement UVC disinfection and offers best practices for systems looking to do the same. Sara Palmer, the health system's infection prevention coordinator, contributed to this interview.
Shining a light on UVC disinfection
A hospital CEO shares best practices and strategies for implementing UVC devices
DK: As a smaller facility with a low baseline rate of healthcare-associated infections, we were initially unsure of the cost/benefit balance of purchasing a UVC disinfection device. Despite being a small facility, we have some unique features that put us at an increased risk for seeing things like multidrug-resistant organisms.
We're seeing some rapid population growth due to increased activity in the oil & gas industry. Due to having a more transient population, our healthcare system experiences a higher likelihood of seeing multidrug-resistant organisms being imported that are not currently common in the region. We are also planning to add labor and delivery as well as surgical services to our facility and are in the process of recruiting key roles pivotal to providing those services. In addition to our nursing home, these services mean that we will have more vulnerable patients to protect. We will also be doing more invasive procedures than we currently perform. So, as a new and growing facility, we wanted to make sure that we could start out strong regarding patient safety with a prevention approach.
We initially evaluated UVC and Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor systems. While both have great efficacy, we ultimately decided that we wanted a system that was easy to use and could be deployed broadly throughout our system. Minimizing the hands-on time requirements for our small environmental services staff was very important to us. That led us to focus on UVC devices.
DK: We performed a thorough comparison of leading UVC devices before our purchase. We evaluated efficacy by performing an extensive literature review of independent, third-party research on the devices. Then we looked at other features such as run times, number of placements required in each room, hands-on environmental services time, room turnover speed, ease-of-use of equipment, training support, customer service, system's costs and consumable costs. Next, we spoke to other users of the devices to get real-world feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of our top choices.
We made sure to get in touch with smaller facilities similar to ours. This was a really critical step for us, as most facilities using this technology are larger systems that might not accurately reflect our needs and capabilities. The comparison information and our recommendation to purchase the UVC system were shared with leadership. After reviewing the contract, we proceeded with the purchase.
DK: After efficacy, choosing a UVC device really comes down to fit. We have a small environmental services staff, and we needed to make sure we were not going to be significantly increasing their workloads with this purchase. The continuous UVC device requires only one room placement and notifies users when the cycle is complete, minimizing hands-on time.
DK: We will not finalize our plans for utilizing the device until we've had a chance to evaluate our facility with our UVC representative. Most likely we will utilize the device for terminal cleaning of all inpatient rooms with a special emphasis on isolation discharge rooms, terminal cleaning of ED rooms where there is a risk of a communicable disease, tub rooms at the nursing home, terminal cleaning of operating rooms, the sterile supply area, dirty laundry and the clinic children's play area.
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