How South Seminole Hospital cut C. diff infections in half

Increasingly, hospitals are adding ultraviolet robots to their disinfection arsenals. Thomas Kelley, MD, chief of quality and clinical transformation at Orlando Health, described the success the organization has had with the robots in a recent interview with Becker's Infection Control & Clinical Quality.

South Seminole Hospital in Longwood, Fla., began using Xenex-manufactured pulsed xenon UV robots in 2012.

Over the first year South Seminole began using the UV robots, from 2012 to 2013, the hospital saw a 47 percent reduction in hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile. Interestingly, during that same time period the community-acquired rate of C. diff actually increased by 7 percent.

"The concern with numbers like these is always wondering if it's a fluke and if the improvement is sustainable, but we're actually seeing ongoing improvement since 2013," says Dr. Kelley. "For instance, from 2012 to 2014, we actually decreased the C. diff rate in the facility by 57 percent."

South Seminole Hospital saw the same pattern emerge for other stubborn hospital-acquired infections — methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus rates decreased by 30 percent and vancomycin-resistant enterococci rates decreased by 50 percent since adding the pulsed xenon robots.

Although the UV disinfection robots have played a significant role in the improvements the hospital has seen, Dr. Kelley notes the robots alone do not account for the results they have seen.

"The robots are an integral part of a multifaceted approach that involves other initiatives as well, such as a strong focus on hand hygiene, enhancing antibiotic stewardship protocols and turning the cultural volume up on the importance of reducing HAIs," said Dr. Kelley.

Some other practices Dr. Kelley says are key to reducing infections include creating awareness, improving transparency regarding infection and patient harm information, engaging patient and families in quality improvement efforts and care system design, and routinely reviewing results and facility scorecards.

South Seminole served as the pilot hospital for the trial with UV disinfection, but in January of this year, Orlando Health implemented the pulsed xenon UV robot system in its other hospitals as well. Thus far, the system has seen positive results at the other facilities, including the system's flagship Orlando Regional Medical Center, which had not seen major improvements in its infection rates in the three years prior to adding the system.

Over the first five months after implementing the UV robots, ORMC saw a 25 percent reduction in C. diff and VRE and a 35 percent reduction in MRSA.



More articles on C. diff:
10 recent stories, studies on C. diff
A non-antibiotic drug could work against C. diff, study finds
Recurrent C. diff meets its match in Merck antibody study

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