An Objective Approach to Monitoring Hospital Cleanliness

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The days when visual room inspection used to be the gold standard for monitoring hospital cleanliness is long gone. Even though this practice is still useful, better and more objective ways have seen the light. One of the most scientific way is surface cultivation. However, surface cultivation is labor intensive and lacks on the spot results. Invisible UV markers and UV light are also a good way to validate if a place was cleaned. However, its application is limited and the data are not telling more then if a surface was cleaned or not at a given time. ATP testing is becoming more and more useful to verify cleanliness beyond visual inspection.

How does ATP monitoring works?

ATP monitoring is a simple and quick way for hospital to measure residual organic matter on a surface, device or piece of equipment. Adenosine triphosphate or ATP is an organic molecule found in every living or once-living organism. Essentially, the person conducting ATP monitoring swabs the surface of concern, and insert that swab into a handheld unit called a luminometer. Results are available within seconds. Good products will come with a free software that will permit to identify problematic areas, monitor trends and store results. It is a very tool to add to an audit system.

Fast, reliable and quality results

It is important to understand that ATP testing is not a microorganism detection method. ATP testing, is a cleaning verification test. It won’t tell you what’s on the surface, but it will tell you that there is something on the surface. A lot of healthcare professionals see the value that ATP monitoring offers. It empowers auditors, infection prevention staff and environmental services specialist to verify if cleaning was done properly in seconds. The speed at which the results are obtained is very appreciated in healthcare settings. If a result is out of specification, then corrective action can be taken immediately. Infection control staff often witness a direct correlation between low ATP levels and lower healthcare associated infection rates. Remember that environmental contamination is directly linked to up to 40% of healthcare associated infections.

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