Veterans Affairs

System for organizing the disinfection of items contaminated with biological agents

Use of RFID tags to keep track of disinfected items in a patient’s room, which may help reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired infections

Medical & Biotechnology Sensors

A scientist at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has recently invented a method for organizing the disinfection of items contaminated with biological agents, which has the potential to reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired infections.

A VA scientist has invented a method for organizing the disinfection of items in a hospital room, such as this one, in order to prevent further contamination.

The patented technology is available via patent license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.

Hospital-acquired infections are an important cause of mortality and morbidity, affecting an estimated 1.7 million patients and causing 100,000 deaths annually in the United States. As multiple drug-resistant organisms represent an increasing challenge to successfully treat, they also significantly contribute to increasing health care costs and unnecessary patient burden.

Contaminated surfaces contribute up to half of the risk for acquiring infections, as these organisms persist on environmental surfaces for many days.

To help hospitals reduce their rates of infection, a VA researcher has developed a method for organizing the disinfection of contaminated items that uses radio-frequency ID (RFID) tags.

After a patient is discharged, the entire hospital room and its contents must be thoroughly disinfected to get it ready for the next patient including items like the bed, nurse call light, TV remote, tray tables, phone, etc. By attaching RFID tags to these items, the hospital worker can be notified when disinfection of one item is complete and move onto the next item.

This system allows for an organized digital record of which items have been disinfected and which ones still need disinfecting.

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