The Value of Innovation

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Since Xanitos’ founding, our company has worked to leverage technology and operational expertise to deliver an effective, productive and safe program for our hospital partners. With increasing pressures on healthcare to perform we are often asked to do more with less, attaining higher levels of performance at a lower operating cost. In order to do that we have utilized a systematic approach to how we do everything, including researching innovative technologies.

As Xanitos’ Director of Development, Productivity and Safety, I am constantly asked questions to support performance improvement:

  • What is the best disinfectant?  
  • What is the best floor finish?
  • What is the best machine to use to clean floors?
  • Which UV device is best?

In order to be able to answer these questions I work with our hospital partners, vendors, managers and front line staff at several of our client hospitals in order to keep up with and test new products and equipment. 

In weighing technologies, I work to ensure it is tested in the real world before recommending it to our EVS leadership. After all, has your facility ever experienced a change in product where after implementation you realized there were unforeseen roadblocks and inefficiencies that resulted in the product being discontinued? While there is a lot of literature available, making the right decision requires you to test it with your system and in real conditions. This is why I not only want to know the specifications and the price, I also want to know does it really work with our programs. I seek feedback from our customers, the front line employees and managers. If the front line employees are against a new product or piece of equipment the new items will end up sitting in a closet somewhere and the employees will quickly go back to the old way of doing things. For our employees we need to consider ease of use, compatibility with current policies and procedures and any training burden associated with it.

In considering our nursing partners:

  • What does the product smell like?
  • Is it noisy?
  • Does it noticeably impact nursing’s perception of cleanliness?

In considering broader hospital goals:

  • Does the product increase or decrease the amount of time to complete a task?
  • Does it enhance the patient experience and improve patient safety?

These and many more are questions that need to be answered before we decide to implement a new product and procedure.

Testing of an Effective and Safe Sporicidal Disinfectant

One example of our collaborative test process is identifying and implementing the use of an effective and safe sporicidal disinfectant. The goal was to identify a sporicidal disinfectant that could be used as the primary daily disinfectant in all areas. This goal, predicated on lean methodologies, would eliminate the use of specialty products for precaution room cleaning thereby reducing product SKUs and eliminating potential errors associated with chemical selection.

We sought out a product that is safe, possesses a short dwell time, is cost effective and allows for safe handling by the housekeeping staff.

Testing of Peroxyacetic Acid/Hydrogen Peroxide

Bleach, while effective, damages surfaces shortening the life of many capital assets. Peroxyacetic Acid/Hydrogen Peroxide is another disinfectant that is effective against C-Difficile; however, there is a strong vinegar odor. Also part of the consideration was the relationship between concentration, cost and safety. The higher the concentration the more cost effective and compact; unfortunately the higher concentration also requires additional handling and monitoring precautions for safety reasons. Seeking something that met all of our parameters, Xanitos identified a Sodium Dichloroiscyanutate based product used in Europe that is transported in tablet form. Because this product is a tablet it is much safer for housekeepers to handle, requires less stringent safety precautions, requires less storage space and decreases packaging waste. In addition, while being a chloride the product does not visibly damage surfaces and the scent is milder, similar to the chlorine smell of an indoor pool. A smell many associate with disinfection, albeit in a different setting.

This product was introduced as a daily cleaner disinfectant throughout a trial hospital. Within weeks of introducing the product a significant drop in C-Difficile infections in the trial hospital was observed and this low incidence of C. Difficile continues today approximately 18 months after its initial pilot.

Testing of a Durable Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Resistant Floor Finish

Another example of our collaborative product testing was the selection of a durable alcohol hand sanitizer resistant floor finish. We considered two products and selected two test sites.  At one location we trialed the test product and another product side by side. At another location, we trialed the test product by itself in a unit that was experiencing severe damage from hand sanitizer. Despite a greater initial investment in product, the durability of the finish and ease of maintenance allowed these programs to reallocate floor technician resources to other projects while simultaneously improving patient experience scores for cleanliness. The combination of the cost per square foot, preparation needed, durability, compatibility to the current program, ease of training, low odor and the ability to remove and recoat resulted in the decision to utilize this finish as our preferred product in high traffic areas and areas experiencing damage issues due to alcohol-based sanitizers.

In the last ten years Xanitos has tested microfibers, disinfectants, UV devices, scrubbers, upright vacuums, burnishers, extractors and various floor products, so that we can decide what is the best for our customers. We have introduced several products and machines to complement our program and get the best results.

Written by: Paul Tarrant, Director of Workforce Optimization and Safety

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