Improving hand and mobile device hygiene with UV technology

By Stefanie Kreibe

With mobile device usage on the rise in health care environments, Mackenzie Health identified the need to find an efficient solution to sanitize frequently used mobile devices, to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases.

“As we move closer to opening Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital, our smart hospital in 2020, the use of mobile devices such as phones and tablets used by patients, families and health care providers will continue to grow. As a hospital we are challenged to keep germs out of care environments,” says Heather Candon, Manager of Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC), Mackenzie Health in York Region, Ontario. “Recent research has shown mobile devices can carry all sorts of germs and at Mackenzie Health we are always looking for innovative ways to stop infectious viruses from entering the hospital and avoiding transmission between patients.”

Training perioperative nurses in their future work environment

In partnership with CleanSlateUV, a local healthcare innovator, Mackenzie Health with the support of Mackenzie Innovation Institute (Mi²), co-developed and implemented a unique mobile device sanitization solution for use in common areas of the hospital. Mi2’s mandate is to support Mackenzie Health’s applied innovation vision by acting as a catalyst for disruptive innovations in healthcare.  CleanSlateUV specializes in Ultraviolet (UV) technology to sanitize a wide range of small non critical mobile devices such as cell phones, tablets, ID badges, stethoscopes, watches and other hard, non-porous items. Following a surface-clean to remove any visible dirt, the technology can sanitize these common devices within 30 seconds. UV technology is not used to sanitize equipment that breaks the skin of a patient.

In concert with Mackenzie Health staff, the Mi² team worked closely with CleanSlateUV to optimize the technology and helped improve their design and workflows for use within a hospital. Key insights and feedback from the pilot program helped further refine the design and application of the technology. Ultimately, the hospital has benefited from a solution that is fast, user-friendly, safe and supports its strategic priorities around delivering an excellent experience, with quality of care and patient safety in mind.

“Our collaboration with Mackenzie Health’s staff and the Mi² team has been fantastic,” says Manjunath Anand, chief technology officer, CleanSlateUV. “Their feedback led to meaningful product design and user interface improvements, and they helped prove how valuable the technology can be to patients and visitors, not just to clinicians. This has created value for users and for hospitals seeking a one-stop solution for the problem of mobile device sanitization and personal hygiene.”

“We were pleased to see that many patients, staff and visitors are cleaning their cell phones and mobile devices on a regular basis, when [the device] is located in convenient areas such as the hospital main lobby or while they are waiting to order a coffee,” adds Candon. “This is a good habit to practice all year-round, but even more so during flu seasons. Allowing patients and families to sanitize these items on the way into the hospital potentially prevents germs and viruses that can make already sick patients, even sicker.”

“Hundreds of non-critical devices are now being cleaned by our team and visitors multiple times a day using CleanSlate,” adds Tam. “With this technology we are educating visitors and our team on the importance of properly cleaning devices to reduce the number of pathogens being innocently carried around our facility each day.”

Following a pilot of the technology at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, the equipment is now stationed in the main lobbies of the hospital for use by patients, visitors and hospital staff.

“Innovation is a key enabler in achieving our vision to create a world-class health experience,” says Richard Tam, executive vice-president and chief administrative officer, Mackenzie Health. “We believe that, through pioneering projects such as the partnership with CleanSlateUV, we can help demonstrate the value of mobile, ‘smart’, and secure communications in a health care environment and are looking forward to the opportunity to expand our findings for the benefit of our community.”

The machines use UV-C (short-wave ultraviolet) light and have impressive results in destroying viruses including a 99.999% MRSA kill rate, 99.93% Clostridium difficile kill rate and  >99.992 per cent kill rate for Salmonella enterica, in just 30 seconds.

Recently Mackenzie Health received REACH funding (Resources for Evaluating, Adopting and Capitalizing on Innovative Healthcare Technology) from Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), to develop a real-time hand-hygiene data collection solution using smart replenishment tracking. This project will create an on-demand hand hygiene supply replenishment process and integrate with an ‘Internet of Healthcare Things’ platform (IoHT)OM.

By better understanding the four moments of hand hygiene in patient care areas through data modeling approach, Mackenzie Health aims to optimize the process of having the right hand hygiene supplies in the right place at the right time while increasing hand hygiene compliance. The project is expected to be completed by early 2019.

Stefanie Kreibe,is a  Senior Communications Consultant at Mackenzie Health