Innovations stopping the spread of infection in hospitals

02/20/2017 05:59 am ET Updated Feb 20, 2017

Infections in hospital are a persistent concern, with a recent report suggesting that the cost is around $10 billion in the US alone.  I wrote a few years ago about an innovative new technology that was using lighting to try and tackle the problem.

Vital Vio is a novel approach at reducing the bacteria levels in places such as hospitals and kitchens.  The service utilizes a form of disinfectant lighting, which the makers believe will reduce the kind of harmful microrganisms that are so rife in our hospitals by as much as 99.9%.

Once the system is in place, it provides a round the clock service, providing the facilities it is used in a continous protection against bugs such as mRSA, E.Coli and Salmonella.

Disinfected to the touch

Taking a slightly different tack are the Nonwovens Innovation and Research Institute Ltd (NIRI).  The Leeds based organization have developed antibacterial push pads and pull handles to be fitted to doors in hospitals to try and halt the spread of infection.  The hope is that it bolsters the infection control within hospitals by providing an extra layer of protection for the time between someone washing their hands and using a door.

The Surfaceskin pads self-disinfect themselves each time the door is opened.  The pads release a small amount of antibacterial solution via a micro-valved top sheet.  The pads are designed to kill many of the commonest germs present in hospitals, including MRSA and Norovirus.

“NHS England statistics show that between four and nine thousand people die each year from healthcare-related infections. Our overarching aim is to have a positive impact on the health care sector, so with 80% of health care infections stemming from touch and our hands, we believe this technology could make a huge difference,” NIRI say.

The pads will initially be trialed at Leeds General Infirmary, with the NIRI team confident that they will replicate the positive results achieved in laboratory conditions.  The organization are also confident that it could be applied successfully outside of the NHS, with initial interest from private chains such as Bupa and even fast food restaurants and cruise ship companies.

Infection control is such a big issue for so many organizations, the hope has to be that innovations such as these can finally allow us to beat the bugs.

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