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OGH and BRMC Add High Tech Weapons to Combat Hospital Infections

Posted on: 11/10/2015

Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) and Olean General Hospital (OGH), member hospitals of Upper Allegheny Health System, have acquired the latest in advanced ultraviolet technology to create a safer environment for patients and staff.

The newly purchased Clorox Healthcare Optimum-UV System has been deployed at both hospitals. The system is designed to help neutralize persistent infection causing pathogens (germs), including Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as MRSA.  BRMC and OGH are the first hospitals in the Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania to have the new system.

The Optimum-UV System is a six foot high mobile light tower, which is placed in an unoccupied room and bathes surface areas with intense ultraviolet light for several minutes to inactivate pathogens on surface areas.  The intense ultraviolet light damages the DNA of micro-organisms, in effect, neutralizing them. As a safety precaution, motion detectors on the tower cause it to shut down if there is any movement or if anyone enters the room during operation. Hospital officials point out that the technology is designed to supplement, not replace, manual surface disinfection in the hospital.

“One of the most difficult challenges for hospitals across the country is combatting Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI),” said Timothy J. Finan, President and CEO of Upper Allegheny Health System. “We place a high priority on disinfecting our hospitals and we are extremely proud of our efforts to keep our hospitals clean.”

“However, over the years, newly emerging, and more resistant micro-organisms have made it more difficult for hospitals to keep HAI in check.  Some organisms can survive on surfaces for months.” Finan explained. “This new technology adds an extra layer of protection to our prevention efforts and gives us one more weapon in battling HAI.”

Employees at both hospitals named the new robots. In a contest at Olean General Hospital, employees chose the names “Violet” and “Dr. Kilgerm”. The new robot at Bradford Regional Medical Center was named Rosie, after the famous housekeeping robot of the cartoon sitcom “The Jetsons”.

Finan pointed out that both hospitals have engaged in a number of other initiatives to improve patient safety. “We are proud of our safety scores at both hospitals and have been working diligently to reduce harm events and enhance safety,” Finan said.  “OGH and BRMC have received recognition for excellence in patient safety and our employees are doing a great job. We have invested in programs, our people and new technology.”

“On October 28, Olean General earned an ‘A’ for hospital safety in a hospital quality rating by The Leapfrog Group, a national, independent non-profit rating organization which measures quality and safety in U.S. hospitals,” Finan said. Olean General Hospital was only one of three hospitals in Western New York to receive an ‘A’ grade.

Last year, OGH and BRMC introduced a “Culture of Safety” initiative to ramp up awareness and engage employees in putting a laser focus on harm prevention and patient safety. “Both hospitals now publish their patient harm event status daily for all employees to see on the employee intranet page,” Finan said.  “We want our employees and physicians to know where we stand on a day-to-day basis regarding harm prevention.  We believe we are one of only a few hospitals in the nation to take this step.”

More than 100 OGH and BRMC employees are now engaged as “Safety Champions”.  “These are employees who volunteered to act as advisors, trainers, observers and mentors, engaging staff at every level and creating energy in our efforts to improve safety performance,” Finan said.  “They have gone through training, participate in our safety committees and have input into efforts to enhance patient safety.”

As the third piece, OGH and BRMC ask patients to become more active in advocating for their care. “The Speak Up” initiative encourages patients to communicate actively with staff who are caring for them,” Finan said.  “At the time of registration we furnish all patients with a list of suggested questions to ask staff as another measure to ensure safety.”

“It is the first obligation of every employee to do everything within their power to ensure every patient has a safe experience,” he said.  “We need to strive for perfection with every patient interaction.” Finan said.  “Nothing less is acceptable,” he said.

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