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Technology To Aid Fight Against Superbugs

Armen Hareyan's picture


Powerful sterilization technology that inactivates the full spectrum of biological contaminants is for the first time being installed in the nation's hospitals to prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant staph infections - or superbugs.

Wellmont Health System , Kingsport, Tenn., is the first healthcare system in the United States to acquire the VaproSure Room Sterilization System for use in its hospitals. Manufactured by STERIS Corp., the VaproSure Sterilizer is a freestanding, portable unit that uses dry vapor sterilization to kill the full spectrum of biological contaminants in a hospital room.

The Wellmont system, a founding member of the national Safest Hospital Alliance, has acquired two systems for use in its 13 member hospitals in Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky.

"We believe this technology is a breakthrough advancement for patient safety and infection control," said Dr. Richard Salluzzo, Wellmont's president and chief executive officer and the founder of the national Safest Hospital Alliance. "As a founding member of the Safest Hospital Alliance, Wellmont is committed to utilizing processes, programs and technologies that bring about real, measurable improvement in patient safety.

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"This technology will dramatically enhance our existing infection prevention programs by eliminating biological threats that exist on the many surfaces within a hospital environment. This purchase is another example of our overarching commitment to achieve complete patient safety in our hospitals."

The VaproSure Room Sterilizer utilizes an EPA-registered sterilant to create a dry sterilization vapor that inactivates the full spectrum of biological contaminants on dry, pre-cleaned, exposed, porous and non-porous surfaces within a sealed hospital room. The chemistry is recognized as sporicidal, bacteriacidal, fungicidal and virucidal. Additionally, the sterilant is environmentally friendly, reducing to water vapor and oxygen at the conclusion of the cycle.

Wellmont expects to take delivery of its systems later this month. The technology will initially be utilized at the health system's two tertiary referral centers, Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center. Because the technology is portable, however, the health system can move the equipment between hospitals as needed to respond to specific situations.

Wellmont will also be able to make the technology available to community locations such as schools that may be experiencing an infection outbreak.

"Until now, hospitals have relied on mops and buckets to clean patient rooms," said Dr. Tony Oliva, Wellmont's chief medical officer. "The VaproSure technology is a proven way to kill drug-resistant staph infections and better protect our patients. "I have every confidence our use of this equipment will save lives."