Reusable medical devices help control cost and reduce medical waste, but by nature of reusing them they pose health concerns regarding the risk of infection and require different levels of disinfection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three levels of disinfection: high, intermediate and low.
- High-level disinfection (HLD) kills all organisms, except high levels of bacterial spores
- Intermediate-level disinfection kills mycobacteria, most viruses and bacteria
- Low-level disinfection (LLD) kills some viruses and bacteria
Critical devices such as surgical forceps pose a high risk for infection if contaminated, as do semi-critical devices such as medical instrument blades due to the fact they are in contact with broken skin. Critical and semi-critical devices require high-level disinfection and must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected or sterilized between uses. Stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs are non-critical devices and require low-level disinfection since they only come into contact with unbroken skin.
Outpatient medical facilities perform numerous exams where these devices (stethoscopes, otoscopes, abdominal ultrasound probes and blood pressure cuffs) are routinely reused. Chemical disinfection for these devices has proven to be inconsistently administered and can result in the transmission of various pathogens from patient to patient. This is where UVC LEDs can serve as an alternative for chemical disinfection by providing fast, dependable disinfection between patients to reduce the likelihood that pathogens are transmitted from one patient to another through a medical device.
UVC LED technology is extremely effective for killing microbes, including C. diff and MRSA and its inherent design flexibility has led to the development of many promising new infection prevention devices and applications in healthcare.
One example of this in action is LED Tailor Innova7ion, whose product uses Klaran UVC LEDs and allows healthcare workers to quickly (in less than 3 minutes) disinfect non-critical medical devices by placing them in a cabinet file drawer and pushing a button. This is just one instance of how to keep medical devices safe from dangerous pathogens and ensure there is no spread of infection to patients whether they’re undergoing a complex medical procedure or a routine visit to their primary healthcare provider.