Case Study

High-tech cleanliness check just a swab away

“It is essentially an instant-read Q-Tip that helps us evaluate the cleanliness of surfaces,” said Mark Leonard, Hallmark Health System (HHS) director of Environmental Services. HHS and CrothalqTippg 1 bw Tl Healthcare, its contracted support services firm, use 3M Clean Trace™ technology as part of their cleaning programs to reduce the incidence of infections spread from touching contaminated surfaces.

The technology works by using the moistened swab to obtain a sample from an area that has been cleaned – for example, a light switch, bed rail, callbutton or door knob – and inserting it into a test tube containing a reagent.“A luminometer then measures the intensity of light being produced; more intense light means more contamination,” he added. “The technology shows whether a surface is clean or not. If it’s not, we go back and clean it again.”

3M Clean Trace™ has been in use at HHS since 2010. It has two main functions. One is to provide cleanliness checks, particularly when looking to stem the spread of certain health care associated infections or HAIs.

The other is to train Environmental Services staff. “It’s an ‘objective observer,’” said Leonard. “We’ll bring the technology into a room after one of our staff has cleaned it and, along with the staff member, check some surfaces. It’s a one-on-one coaching opportunity for staff, who can see how well they’ve cleaned these high-touch surfaces.”

The technology comes with software that can track cleaning results and capture trends. And it adds to the department’s other infection-control practices, such as visual inspections, employee observations, ongoing staff training and participation in infection control committees. “We try to leverage technology and incorporate it into day-to-day operations,” he said. “We want to do our part to promote safety
and reduce the possibility of infection for patients, staff and visitors.” 

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