Infection Control

Innovation and Trends in Infection Control

Infection control is an exciting and growing space. Adoption is still low in some areas, but there is a high amount of provider interest and therefore a high amount of potential energy. With the Infection Control 2019 report, KLAS highlights innovative vendors and technologies to help vendors understand what providers need and want and to help providers move forward with adopting helpful solutions.

UV Disinfection Growing

UV disinfection is the most widely adopted technology, and some providers we have talked to want to expand their UV machine fleets; they are happy and are seeing reduced infections. But providers also want smaller machines that are easier to use and more time efficient. Some vendors are being more innovative by providing smaller machines or ones that fit into the workflow better; providers are excited for those changes.

However, sometimes UV machines just aren’t cost effective, and that holds people back. UV machines can take a lot of time to use and maintain; that can be especially difficult for busy hospitals.

Another concern is that UV light can break down medical equipment over time. As one infection preventionist shared, their UV disinfection equipment is really just “icing on the cake.” The rooms still need to be cleaned prior to using the machine, and a few providers aren’t sure that UV disinfection is worth the investment if they haven’t yet perfected the initial process of room cleaning.

Potential Growth in Electronic Hand-Hygiene Monitoring

There is a lot of really cool technology with electronic hand-hygiene monitoring, and many providers are interested, but not many are using the technology because it is expensive. Also, providers want to be able to monitor the WHO’s 5 Moments, which some providers feel is still missing from current solutions. Monitoring hand hygiene is an important investment for providers to make.

According to the CDC, “Studies show that on average, healthcare providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should. This contributes to the spread of healthcare-associated infections that affect 1 in 25 hospital patients on any given day.” Observational studies vary in their ability to collect accurate data, so having reliable data will impact decisions on how to improve hand hygiene throughout the hospital.

Providers mentioned several barriers that are inhibiting them from using or investing in hand-hygiene solutions. For example, many nurses and physicians don't want Big Brother watching them. Hand-hygiene solutions also need to fit into an organization’s specific workflow. Depending on how a solution works, a lot of equipment can be required. Even small things like extra badges can make a big difference in the decision-making process. 

Once hand-hygiene solutions get used more, they can have a really big impact. Provider organizations will be able to see how they are really doing.

Best-of-Breed Vendors Still Ahead

Best-of-breed vendors continue to innovate and bring providers the technology and functionality they want. Unfortunately, EMR vendors don’t seem to be focused on infection control; there are other things that are higher priorities for them. But that could change in the future. We have seen EMR vendors climb to the top in other market segments that were once dominated by best-of-breed vendors.

EMR vendors who don’t provide an infection control solution don’t necessarily need to take a leadership role, but they do need to be involved in their providers’ infection control strategies. A lot of data comes from the EMR, so if the EMR vendor makes things difficult, that can affect how deeply providers can use their infection control solutions. 

The Future is Bright

Many people, including myself, know someone who has caught a hospital-acquired infection. It is great to know that there is technology that can be implemented to prevent people from catching diseases and infections. I look forward to seeing this technology implemented and adopted at more provider organizations. 


Photo Cred: Shutterstock, natal-lunata