Antimicrobial wipes in healthcare: how effective? – VCU news


For years, healthcare workers in clinical settings and educational healthcare settings have used germicidal or antimicrobial wipes as part of a common practice of disinfecting medical devices, surfaces, and other equipment.

The advent of COVID-19 has further underscored the importance of effectively cleaning surfaces to prevent the spread of infections.

But how effective are antimicrobial wipes and do they kill pathogenic bacteria?

A team of researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University, led by co-principal investigators Jenica L. Harrison, Ph.D., and Melissa Jamerson, Ph.D., are evaluating the effectiveness of PDI Super Sani-Cloth. and PDI Sani-Cloth Germicidal AF3 disposable wipes to decontaminate lead aprons used in the radiology department of VCU Health, as well as Apple iPad tablet cases used by medical laboratory science students during class sessions and clinical rotations in the hospital .

The first part of the study evaluates the current protocol for decontamination of principal assets used in three clinical interventional imaging environments of VCU Health.

According to Jamerson, the team collected samples in three separate areas: a designated area in the operating room, in interventional radiology at the main hospital, and at the VCU Baird Vascular Institute – an outpatient setting. Researchers collected samples before and after cleaning with the PDI Super Sani-Cloth wipes to determine if they effectively cleanse the lead assets.

“One of the reasons VCU Health asked us to look at the three different areas is that the cleaning schedules are different,” said Jamerson, assistant professor in the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences at VCU College of Health Professions. “In the operating room they clean more often than in the outpatient setting, so they wanted to see if there was a difference due to the amount of cleaning they do. This is part of the data that we look at and whether we see an increase in bacterial contamination when not cleaned as frequently. “

The other part of the study examines the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences’ current decontamination protocol to reduce the risk of bacteria on mobile device housings after routine use in the student medical laboratory.

“Even though our students use devices in clinical rotations and we use wipes to disinfect cases in the lab environment, the issue is still about biohazard safety,” said Harrison, associate professor in the Department of medical laboratory science. “It’s about patient safety and the implementation of protocols that would help reduce nosocomial infections. We don’t want people to come to the hospital and get sick. And with our students, we want to make sure they’re safe with the educational tools we give them.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day, about 1 in 31 hospital patients suffer from at least one healthcare-associated infection. Additionally, the American Society for Microbiology guidelines for biosafety in teaching laboratories state that in medical laboratory science programs, educators should use best practices to minimize the risk of biological contamination to students. Proper decontamination procedures are essential to remove microbial contamination from medical devices and personal protective equipment as well as mobile devices.

Sonya Echols, Ph.D., associate associate professor in the department of radiology at the VCU School of Medicine; Teresa S. Nadder, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences; and Lisa Perkins from the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences collaborated on this study.

“We want to be able to educate individuals about the impact this has on patient safety and why it is so important,” Jamerson said.

The results of the study will inform best practices for decontamination of lead assets and mobile devices which can be disseminated to VCU, VCU Health and other professional healthcare organizations. The group plans to present their findings at the Clinical Laboratory Educators Conference, the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Annual Conference, and the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions Annual Conference in 2022.

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