UV-C Light in the healthcare industry

Well-regulated and safe healthcare is something we all want. But how do we guarantee safety in a hospital or healthcare institution where patients, doctors, nurses and visitors constantly cross paths? Everyone carries bacteria with them, and it is only too easy for these bacteria to be transmitted to others. Pathogens spread easily in the air and are passed on to others by people and contaminated objects. So how do you render them harmless? UV-C light allows you to do just that.

Healthcare disinfection

The importance of disinfection and how to use UV-C light

The past couple of years have demonstrated just how important proper disinfection is. The coronavirus pandemic showed us all how easily some pathogens can spread. All kinds of measures were taken to slow down the spread of the virus: cough into the crook of your elbow, don't shake people’s hands, keep 1.5 metres’ distance from others, wear a face mask, disinfect your hands frequently, make sure your room is well ventilated, etc. But how can such rules be enforced in an environment where patients need to be cared for? Additional measures must be implemented to prevent people from infecting one another in hospitals or healthcare institutions. UV-C light can help in such environments because it is a fast, effective and safe way to eliminate micro-organisms. Read more about it in this article.

Healthcare applications

Equipment that has come in contact with a patient, or beds or tables on which patients have lain, must be disinfected so that the next person lying on them will not be infected by whatever virus the previous patient may have been carrying. However, this process can be rather time-consuming for staff and is therefore often omitted – an alarming idea, but all too true, unfortunately. This is why more and more products are being marketed that can help staff with their cleaning tasks, such as robots that enter the OR after an operation and disinfect all the surfaces there by means of UV-C light. Another such product is our D25, which nursing staff can use to quickly disinfect infusion pumps or thermometers.

What methods are currently being used?

Current disinfection methods tend to require manual effort, and are simply too cumbersome and prone to mistakes to ensure safe healthcare. Take, for instance, a method whereby disinfecting wipes are used to disinfect a product or surface. If you really want to reduce the number of micro-organisms on the product or surface and render them inactive, the cleaning process must take several minutes. Disinfecting wipes often contain alcohol, and exposure to alcohol destroys viruses. However, it takes some time for alcohol to penetrate the protein layer of a virus – approximately two minutes. Alcohol does not penetrate dirt and grease, so pre-cleaning is mandatory, even when disinfecting wipes are used. This is why disinfecting objects and surfaces with wipes is not really user-friendly.

Manual cleaning.

When validated UV-C light products are used, this manual and error-prone process is eliminated and a certain log reduction is guaranteed, which is exactly what is needed in the healthcare industry. With the advent of these products, nursing staff can be relieved of the burden of fighting pathogens. By automating the disinfection process and making the cleaning devices easy to use, healthcare institutions can relieve their nurses of a time-consuming duty, thus allowing them to focus entirely on what they have been trained to do, which is to look after patients and promote their wellbeing.

If you’d like to learn more about UV-C light, be sure to read ‘How to Use UV-C light Safely’.

Michiel van Schelven
Lead Product Engineer