Innovative infection prevention amidst the challenging times

ASP’s infection prevention technologies and solutions protect patients from hospital-acquired infections.

Hospital admissions due to various reasons are not new, but it has worsened during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic amidst the spikes in the number of cases and hospitalisation rate, as well as the need to attend to patients at a much faster pace.

Whilst the healthcare industry has done a remarkable job in battling the outbreak, the pandemic shed light on some of the problems that stem from the speedy response of healthcare facilities in COVID-19 cases. Amongst these problems are healthcare-associated infections (HAI) brought about by hurdles in the sanitation of medical equipment.  

COVID-19 has exacerbated an already existing sterilisation and disinfection problem. A study from the medical journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology stated that nearly 80% of responders spend over 75% of their time on COVID-19 infection prevention efforts.1

As HAI prevention becomes a more pressing issue with the pandemic, organisations are now doubling on their sterilisation and sanitation efforts. Advanced Sterilization Products (ASP), a global leader in infection prevention solutions for healthcare, aims to improve healthcare standards by reducing the rate of HAI through high-tech sterilisation processes and solutions

Overcoming sterilisation hurdles

ASP is dedicated to designing and delivering innovative infection prevention technologies to protect patients during their most critical moments. 

According to ASP’s General Manager/Vice President Global Commercial Nilesh Shah, the pandemic spotlighted the need for sustainable solutions for disinfection needs with shorter turnaround times.

“When facilities and operators are overwhelmed, there is a risk that they may feel rushed to return medical devices to service with an elevated possibility of skipping or forgetting steps necessary for complete sterilisation. Similarly, issues may arise if people do not have enough resources to engage in the proper sterilisation protocols,” Shah said.

ASP created the first STERRADᵀᴹ hydrogen peroxide terminal sterilisation system, with the technology’s end goal ensuring that no toxic residues remain on the sterilised items at the end of the process. It exploits the synergism between hydrogen peroxide and low-temperature gas plasma to rapidly destroy microorganisms. 

STERRADᵀᴹ Sterilization Systems enable faster instrument turnover, as they offer a rapid sterilisation cycle of around 24 to 60 minutes and do not require lengthy aeration. “Instruments can be reused much sooner, alleviating the costs associated with holding a large number of instrument sets in inventory,” Shah said.

In the context of COVID-19, Shah mentioned that medical devices and instruments will encounter patients infected with the coronavirus. As such, reusable medical devices must be sterilised or thoroughly disinfected between uses to prevent the patient-to-patient transfer of the virus.

He cited bronchoscopes, ENT flexible endoscopes and laryngoscopes as reusable devices being used for the diagnosis and treatment of patients infected by the coronavirus. Shah added devices such as blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, monitoring equipment and ventilators, which are used at the bedside, will also need to be disinfected or sterilised between uses.

“A high number of patients needing advanced care for coronavirus could result in a single device being used multiple times a day,” he said.

STERRADᵀᴹ Sterilization Systems avoid exposing users and patients to unnecessary health risks by utilising a combination of H2O2, which is non-carcinogenic, and gas plasma, which eliminates H2O2 residues to leave only water and oxygen.

With no toxic emissions or byproducts result, because hydrogen peroxide breaks down to the water, STERRADᵀᴹ Sterilization Systems avoid the need for expensive abatement systems and adheres to strict regulatory guidelines associated with preventing and detecting exposure.

CIDEX® OPA Solution has been tested for efficacy against human coronavirus. Testing was performed using the United States EPA Virucide Assay Method. Testing was also completed using a diluted strength CIDEX® OPA formulation to present adequate challenge to CIDEX® OPA. The results showed that even at a diluted concentration, CIDEX® OPA Solution inactivates Human Coronavirus. 

The disinfectant achieves high-level disinfection in only 12 minutes at 20 °C and is reusable for up to 14 days when monitored with CIDEXTM OPA Solution Test Strips. No activation or mixing is required.

Meanwhile, ASP’s AEROFLEX™ Automatic Endoscope Reprocessor is a cost-effective, single basin system that automates the washing and high-level disinfection cycle of flexible semi-critical endoscopes, increasing productivity and enhancing compliance. It has a complete cycle time at 22 minutes, accelerating endoscope turnaround.

AEROFLEX™ Automatic Endoscope Reprocessor also has an intuitive user interface as its navigation menu is quick and easy to learn and operate, helping customers to breeze through the operation of the system and guiding them through compliant processing steps. Moreover, it has automated record keeping designed to enhance documentation compliance and simplify manual record-keeping steps in the workflow.

No room for error

ASP’s solution offers the assurance healthcare professionals need, protecting patients during the most critical moments. With a prominent global presence in thousands of medical facilities, ASP believes that there should be no error in handling instruments used to treat patients.

As such, ASP and Shah personally connect with and gather feedback from users of the sterilisation equipment to ensure their insights are heard. They do this through their customer service team, constant communication with the customers through sales representatives, and ensuring users of the equipment are educated on processes, proper use of the equipment and providing feedback regularly.

On this note, Shah also reaffirmed his career choice in the healthcare industry, having built teams from scratch, driving profitable growth and launching game-changing, breakthrough technology and products globally. 

“I’ve spent more than 20 grateful years serving as a change agent for the healthcare industry, continually focused on new, cutting edge technologies, R&D and product development… It sounds cliché, but I truly believe I’m meant to be in this industry and serving patients and their families,” he said.

 

References
1 Stevens MP, et al. Impact of COVID-19 on traditional healthcare-associated infection prevention effort. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2020. Apr 16, doi: 10.1017/ice.2020.141

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