Hospital-acquired infections are ones that patients develop during their stay in the hospital that were neither present nor developing when they were admitted. In Canada, about 10 percent of adults with short-term hospitalization acquire hospital-acquired infections.
The standard method for reducing and preventing these infections is by decontaminating patient rooms through manual cleaning and disinfection. Several no-touch ultraviolet light systems have been proposed to supplement current hospital cleaning and disinfecting practices.
Health Quality Ontario studied the effectiveness and financial impact of portable ultraviolet light surface-disinfecting devices for reducing hospital-acquired infections.
To determine the financial impact of portable ultraviolet light surface-disinfecting devices, we estimated that the typical cost for a hospital that purchased two devices would be $586,023 to $634,255 over 5 years, depending on the devices purchased. This includes the estimated cost of the devices, warranty, maintenance, and staff time required to operate the devices.
Due to the low quality of evidence related to the effectiveness of portable ultraviolet light disinfection, we cannot be certain these devices are better than the standard cleaning and disinfection procedures currently used to reduce hospital-acquired infections.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care endorses this recommendation.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: The Ministry recognizes that UV light is a proven and effective method of surface disinfection and provides funding for permanent UV light disinfection fixtures mounted on hospital walls. The Ministry agrees with Health Quality Ontario’s recommendation regarding portable UV light devices and encourages hospitals to consider Health Quality Ontario’s evidence-informed advice on this topic.