R Zero Arc in hospital patient room

How Carle Health switched from electrostatic sprayers to UV-C disinfection

The Switch from Electrostatic Spraying to UV-C Disinfection

The Carle Health Foundation is a hospital in Urbana, Illinois, with nearly 500 beds. It provides essential emergency services and specialized newborn care for its community. The hospital continually reinforces its commitment to delivering top-notch healthcare across an ever-growing network and is recognized as one of America’s 50 best hospitals by Healthgrades.

Bruce Osborne is the Director of Environmental Services at Carle Health Foundation, and he’s using the power of UV-C technology as an efficient and affordable cleaning solution for the Carle Health Hospital system.  

However, Bruce’s disinfection journey didn’t start with a clean and sustainable solution like UV-C; it began with a roomful of chemicals.

The Problem with Electrostatic Spraying

Carle’s Environmental Services (EVS) team is responsible for a “daily clean” of every patient-occupied room, which includes disinfecting all flat surfaces and the restroom. When a patient is discharged from the facility, the team does a “discharge clean,” which is a 45-minute deep clean of the room that requires every surface to be cleaned to be ready for the next patient to arrive.

For Bruce Osborne’s team, that means ‌a lot of rooms to disinfect and clean. The EVS team has to complete about 450 cleans and 150 discharge cleans every day.

As part of their previous discharge cleaning procedure, the team used electrostatic spraying technology, which extended the duration of each clean by 15 minutes. To effectively disinfect a room using electrostatic sprayers, the team members would have to put on and take off full protective gear, goggles, and respirators for each room, adding preparation time to each room before starting the cleaning itself. This protective equipment was necessary because electrostatic spraying required team members to seal off the room and spray chemicals in the air for five minutes with no added ventilation. 

Although the process of filling the room with chemicals effectively disinfected the area, it consumed a lot of time to thoroughly clean each room in preparation for patient turnover. The continuous spraying of chemicals into the air posed difficulties for team members with health conditions and presented challenges for those who were hearing-impaired.

Another drawback that they found, was that it comes at a significant expense.  Apart from the cost of acquiring and maintaining the necessary protective gear, there is a substantial cost associated with purchasing and managing the chemicals used, as well as the equipment required for spraying.

Simply put, electrostatic spraying wasn’t working for them. It was causing discomfort to employees, driving up chemical costs, and adding significant time to the EVS workday. Bruce needed an alternate method that maintained Carle Health’s standard of safe disinfection without causing discomfort to his staff members.

UV-C Research

For Bruce, safety for both staff and patients was his primary concern. He explained, “I think, for me, it all boiled down to safety. I take my role as Director seriously in the sense that it’s my job to protect not only our patients, not only our families, not only our visitors, but also the employees that we have.”

That search for a safe solution led him to UV-C mobile disinfection towers. Bruce added, “One of the things that I’ve always been intrigued by with UV-C was the cleanness, the greenness of not only the machine, but also the fact that when you’re done, we’re not putting more chemicals in the air. It’s very green.”

After extensive research, Bruce realized that he would need a large number of high-quality UV-C mobile disinfection towers to fully meet the needs of a hospital system the size of Carle Health.

Bruce knew that solving his disinfection problem wouldn’t be as simple as choosing UV-C as his cleaning solution. He had to find the right partner, and he had to convince the hospital board. From the very beginning, he knew that he needed everyone on the same page, so he selected a committee of people from all over Carle Health, including facilities, IT, infection prevention, and EVS team members. Everyone who would be affected or consulted on the change to UV-C had a say in the selection process and could bring their concerns to the table.

Together, the committee looked at different UV-C companies, and narrowed their options down to a select four. They invited those four to give presentations on their devices, and together, they selected a partner that everyone liked. That partner was R-Zero.

Partnership with R-Zero

A partnership with R-Zero has helped Bruce’s EVS team ‌work more efficiently every time they have to perform a discharge clean. Now, EVS team members can optimize their workflow by operating the UV-C mobile disinfection tower in the restroom while cleaning the patient room. Or they can run a cleaning cycle in the patient room while attending to other tasks outside the room, such as taking out the trash or taking the linens to the laundry.

By removing the requirement for protective equipment, EVS team members can seamlessly transition between rooms without wasting time on gearing up. While it saves on ‌the obvious equipment costs, it saves on chemical costs as well. 

Financially speaking, filling the air with light instead of chemicals is an improvement on Bruce’s budget. Carle Health is now saving 15-20% in chemical costs in addition to saving employees time spent on cleaning.

Bruce has seen firsthand the impact this change has had on his EVS team. With UV light, they save five minutes with every discharge clean they complete. Five minutes alone may not sound like much, but when you consider that Carle Health averages 150 discharges a day, it adds up. That’s 750 minutes every day, which is equivalent to over 12 hours of saved time for EVS team members.

Bruce highlighted the valuable insights gained from the UV device data, stating, “R Zero’s platform getting data is nothing short of remarkable to me. I can find any machine at any moment, tell you the last time down to the second that it was turned on, how long it was for, and what room it happened to be in.”

The data from R Zero’s platform not only informs the cleaning process but also helps Carle Health monitor the effectiveness of its disinfection protocols. This data-driven approach enhances overall infection prevention strategies and contributes to an improved indoor health environment in healthcare settings. 

As Bruce phrases it, “What a beautiful alternative to simply use light to do a better job than spraying chemicals in the air. That, to me, was really the determining factor. It wasn’t price, it wasn’t all of the other things that were important for me, it all boiled down to safety. Safety first and foremost for our patients and families, but also it was a very safe alternative to the spraying of chemicals for our staff members themselves.”

Are You Ready to Use UV-C in Your Hospital?

If your hospital is facing the same challenges that Carle Health did, then R-Zero can help you as well. We’re committed to hospital-grade disinfection that works safely and effectively for both patients and staff members in every hospital.

Ready to get started? You can estimate your hospital’s benefits with our healthcare ROI calculator, or contact us for an individual estimate of how we can provide full-room healthcare disinfection in your building.

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