Sunnaas Hospital turns Norwegian technology to take infection prevention and control to the next level
There is good reason why Sunnaaas Hospital takes infection control seriously. New or multiresistant bacteria more frequently enter Norway. Recently treated patients often have weakened immune systems and are therefore especially susceptible.
«Every year, thousands of patients are infected at Norwegian hospitals. Worst case, this can lead to serious impairment or death», explains Sveininug Tornås, Head of Innovation at Sunnaas, which regularly works with researchers and companies to test and develop innovative solutions for the benefit of patients, staff and society.
The major human, institutional and societal costs attributed to hospital infections is the reason Sunnaas entered into an innovation project with Decon X to develop Norway’s first fully automatic desinfection solution for hospital rooms.
Collaboration benefits the patient
Anyone entering a hospital room – staff, visitors, patients – are potential vectors of disease. Hospital rooms are usually disinfected manually by authorized cleaning staff. However, in a hospital room with funriture, closets, faucets and sinks, reaching every nook and creek where microorganisms hide can be challenging at best. Microbes can attach to a curtain for months before reattaching to a new host.
«Efficient disinfection of areas and equipment is important to limit outbreaks and hinder contagion by physical contact. Patients should be able to visit a hospital understanding that infection control is taken seriously – and that they will be able to leave the hospital no more sick than when they arrived», says Tornås.
The innovation project also aims to reduce the time it takes to disinfect a room, and avoid the long waits for qualified cleaning personell. Tornås points at several nozzles that have been mounted on the wall in a Contagion Room, rooms for use by particularly vulnerable patients:
«These nozzles express how the health system can achieve clever solutions by linking research and technology with everyday operational challenges».
Automatic disinfection without the human factor
Disinfection is started from a panel outside the room. When the operator hits the start button, doors and valves automatically shut and lock before the room fills with a vapor hydrogen peroxide that effectively exterminates the bacteria.
«When the process is finished, the system waits until sensors tell us the levels of gas in the room are normal again. Then the the doors unlock», explains engineer Erling Øyasæther in Decon X, who is demonstrating the system.
The technology reduces contagion by combining communication technology with sensors and nozzles operated by algorithms. The nozzles transform the hydrogen peroxide into a ‘dry vapor’ of tiny, tiny drops that cover everything in the room, attaches to microbes and oxidizes their core.
«The disinfection method method is gentle and does not harm furniture, textiles or equipment. The rest product is oxygen and water vapor», Øyasæter explains.
Decon X first developed a a mobile version of the system called DX1 which is currently used at more than 100 Norwegian health institutions, including Sunnaas. The Sunnaas innovation project has taken this technology to the next level.
«There are a lot of automatic processes, menaing cleaners can quickly prepare the room for automatic disinfection. This system leads to increased safety for staff and patients», concludes Sveinung Tornås.
«Permanent mounting of this system in hospital rooms is one of many steps in our battle on infection. The project is innovative and exciting and we hope other hospitals will put it to use soon».
- The permanent disinfection system is a collaborative project with Sunnaas Hospital RF, Decon X International AS, Tronrud Engineering and ISS Renhold – with financial support from the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authoity and Innovation Norway.
- It is the first system of its kind in Scandinavia.
- The technology is used anywhere infection prevention and control is important in health care: Hospitals, nursing homes, labs, ambulances, fitness rooms. 150 mobile robots are presently in the market.
- In Norway, hydrogen peroxide is mostly used as hair and teeth bleach, with a concentration of 3%. There is 5% hydrogen peroxide in Decon X’s solution. Gentle with furniture, textiles and equipment, it is extrenmely efficient against microbes.
- Decon X founder Bjørn Platou was himself infected at a hospital in 2009, nearly costing him an arm. The arm was saved after 3 additional surgeries and 6 extra weeks in hospital. The experience led to the founding of Decon X.
SUNNAAS HOSPITAL HF
- Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital offers multidisciplinary rehabilitation to patients with complex functional impairment following illness or injury.
- The hospital’s full continuum of care focuses on community re-entry, which for many people means returning to home, work or a supported, community living environment.
- The hospital also holds national responsibilities for rare congenital disorders and locked-in syndrome.
- Their areas of expertise includes spinal cord injuries, severe multitrauma, traumatic brain injuries, stroke-
- Sunnaas is at any time involved i 20 innovation projects, collaborating with 4-5 companies anually.
Decon X asked Computas to analyze the fallouts of hosiptal infections. Here are the main findings:
- Hospital infections costs Norwegian hospitals NOK 2,1 billion annually in direct costs.
- The most normal forms of infections are postoperative infections in hositals, and urinal tract infections in nursing homes.
- One of 21 patients are infected at hospitals
- One of 16 nursing home inhabitants are infected
This article is a collaboration between Norway Heakth Tech, Decon X and Sunnaas Sykehus