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How UVC disinfection can reduce the risk of HCAIs in your healthcare facility

Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) affect an estimated 300,000 patients per year in England alone – and cost the NHS an average of £1 billion each year. 

Preventing patient infection from this ever-growing variety of mutating pathogens has always been a key priority for healthcare providers.

But while traditional, manual, chemical-based cleaning measures continue to be useful, in isolation they are no longer sufficiently comprehensive in a healthcare setting – due both to the high degree of resilience common HCAI bacteria now have to antibiotics, as well as the arrival of COVID-19 as a further potential HCAI.

Traditional surface cleaning techniques eradicate just 50% of viruses and pathogens. However many healthcare providers are now looking at UVC disinfection, which can offer a far more comprehensive solution – and consequently significantly reduce the risk of HCAI for patients.

What is UVC disinfection?

UVC disinfection refers to disinfection using UVC light. UVC light is a specific band of UV light, with wavelengths of between 200 and 300 nanometres. When bacteria, viruses or protozoa are exposed directly to UV light of this wavelength, it is absorbed into their cellular RNA and DNA, damaging nucleic acids, and creating new bonds between nucleotides in molecules such as thymine.

These new, double bonds (known as ‘dimers’) damage the microorganisms to the extent that they are unable to infect or reproduce – effectively inactivating them.

Which HCAIs does UVC disinfect against?

UVC has been proven to kill common HCAIs such as the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), methicillin-sensitive Candida Auris, Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Coronavirus, including COVID-19. In fact, UVC is effective against an extremely wide variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores and its flexibility means that it is likely to continue to be highly effective as these and other bugs continue to evolve. 

With the correct equipment, it is also highly effective at killing COVID-19. A recent study by Boston University (in conjunction with Finsen Tech’s UVC emitter supplier Signify, part of Philips Group) found that COVID-19 was eradicated by the Finsen Techs’ THOR UVC® emitter product within minutes.

Can UVC disinfection be used in conjunction with manual cleaning?

Yes – UVC disinfection is a rapid process, taking a few minutes, and therefore can be integrated into existing facility cleaning schedules.

It is usually deployed in a room directly following manual cleaning, to ensure that the room is comprehensively disinfected. It is also important to note that manual cleaning is only relevant to surfaces, UVC eradicates pathogens from both the air and surfaces simultaneously.

How is UVC light deployed?

UVC disinfection can be employed either across an entire room or used to disinfect specific objects.

Finsen Tech offers products specifically tailored to each of these purposes.

Room-scale disinfection

For room-scale disinfection, our THOR UVC® robot employs 24 UVC emitters, providing floor-to-ceiling UVC light which will terminally clean both air and surfaces in a room. It will eradicate 99.9999% of HCAIs present in the room, and is designed specifically to be both comprehensively effective and easy for staff to use.

THOR UVC Robot

Daily use of the THOR UVC® has been proven to reduce the acquisition of HCAIs by 37%.

Disinfection of non-invasive medical equipment and electronic devices

For disinfection of non-invasive equipment and devices, HYPERION® is designed to eradicate pathogens in 60 seconds. 360 degrees of UVC light means it reaches otherwise-inaccessible or difficult to reach areas of these objects.

Nanoclave Cabinet

Sensitive medical equipment which could not withstand cleaning in an autoclave or exposure to chemicals or gases can be fully disinfected within the HYPERION® without risking damage to the equipment. 

Where can UVC light be used?

UVC light can be employed virtually anywhere that the equipment for deploying it can be placed – including:

  • Ambulances
  • Patient transport
  • MRI
  • X-ray
  • Physiotherapy
  • Theatre staff rooms
  • Theatre changing rooms
  • Ward administration desks 

THOR UVC®’s compact design features castors and a handrail to help staff easily move it into and out of each of these settings, quickly and on a regular basis.

Once in place, it is operated via a custom wireless tablet which is supplied with the product, and does not require specialised staff or consultants to operate.

Instead your staff will be trained on its use – and a unique, automatic, three-pass room scanning technology will enable them to easily place the THOR UVC® in the optimum position for disinfection.

This room mapping – and the subsequent positioning recommendation – is based on the inverse square law, to ensure microorganisms are eradicated as quickly and comprehensively as possible.

THOR UVC light source image
The inverse square law employed by THOR UVC®

For the disinfection of equipment, HYPERION® can be placed almost anywhere that it fits within your facility – it operates at standard room temperature and pressure, and no special setting is required for it.

Does UVC disinfection use chemicals or gases?

No – no chemicals or gases are employed in UVC disinfection. Only UV light is used, making its use a rapid process with no follow-up clean-up required.

How long does UVC disinfection take?

UVC disinfection is very rapid – our THOR UVC® product takes only minutes to disinfect a room or vehicle, and HYPERION® takes only 60 seconds to terminally disinfect equipment.

This makes it ideal for busy healthcare environments, such as ICU, operating theatres and wards in hospitals, where the volume of patients is extremely high and there is very little time to conduct manual cleaning of surfaces between patients.

It can also support increased speed of bed flow, enhancing the patient experience while helping to ensure that they are kept as safe as possible from HCAIs.

How can I find out whether UVC is right for my healthcare facility?

We aren’t resellers – our expert team designed and built THOR UVC® and HYPERION®, and can advise you on whether these solutions are right for your setting, and, if they are, how best to deploy them. 

To speak with them, please email our international sales team or call us on:

UK: +44 (0) 207 193 5641 

USA: +1 844 4 346736

Aus: +61 1300 665 884

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