More than 700 hospitals have been penalized in the past year for patient injuries including high hospital associated infection rates, according to a recent article from Med City News. The monetary penalties are steep, totaling roughly $430 million.
Enforced by Medicare and Medicaid, HAI penalties are intended to motivate hospitals to proactively prevent infections wherever they can. Unfortunately, the majority of penalized hospitals are “repeat offenders.” In fact, over the course of the three-year-old penalty program, roughly 240 hospitals were penalized in all three years.
Of course, no hospital desires to pay unnecessary penalties. But with whole room disinfection technologies that are more advanced than ever, why are HAI rates still such a pervasive problem?
The answer is multi-faceted. In some cases, hospitals may feel they cannot adopt advanced technologies due to budgetary constraints. In others, the hospital system may be so overburdened that it feels it can not effectively operationalize a whole room disinfection system. In others still, the hospital system may simply be unsure of which whole room disinfection system to implement.
However, implementing a whole room disinfection system needn’t be expensive, nor a heavy lift. In fact, the greater expense and burden come from addressing HAIs when they occur. If you are a hospital struggling with high HAI rates, or are considering a switch from manual to whole room disinfection methods, here are some recommendations to set you up for success:
- Quantify the Real Cost of HAIs: Before deploying a solution, it is important to understand the full extent of the problem. That means accurately tracking your hospital’s HAI rates and carefully quantifying their real costs. Recall that the real cost of HAIs not only includes penalties, but also longer episodes of care, lower staff productivity, and damaged reputation. By quantifying the true cost of HAIs, you will be able to better quantify return after implementing a whole room disinfection solution.
- Develop a Task Force: Next, develop a multidisciplinary task force responsible for selecting and implementing a whole room disinfection solution. This team should consist of infection control professionals tasked with reducing HAI rates, facility managers tasked with operationalizing the system, and hospital executives tasked with achieving key strategic objectives while adhering to budgetary constraints. By involving all three constituencies, you will be able to identify a whole room disinfection system that is not only effective, but also usable and affordable.
- Define Your Criteria: Drawing upon the expertise of your task force, create a list of the criteria and requirements that matter most to your hospital. What types of spaces will the system be disinfecting? What level of efficacy should the system be proven to achieve? What is your budget for the project—both upfront and operating? The answers to all of these questions will help identify the proper whole room disinfection system for you.
- Commit to A Regimen: Your whole room disinfection system can only impact your hospital as often as it is used. As a result, you’ll need to define a specific whole room disinfection regimen, then commit to carrying out that regimen—no exceptions. Without a regular regimen, even the most powerful whole room disinfection system cannot make a measurable impact.
- Measure and Adjust: Finally, it is important to recall that once a whole room disinfection system is implemented, the work is not done. Define KPIs to track your system’s effectiveness, and quantify those metrics at regular intervals. In addition to enabling you to systematically quantify return, this will also provide you the opportunity to perfect your regimen over time.
In closing, as you look for your whole room disinfection system, don’t settle for less than the ultimate efficacy, usability and affordability. The optimal whole room disinfection system is not a unicorn. It is possible to be both powerful and practical.
In fact, the Halo Disinfection System® is just that. EPA-validated to kill 99.9999% of C. difficile spores in hospital settings, the Halo Disinfection System® achieves the highest possible efficacy on the market today. The system pairs this market-leading efficacy with low costs of ownership and operation, making it the most comprehensive value in whole room disinfection.
Do you have your sights set on a higher standard for disinfection? Contact Halosil today to learn how we can help you get there.