AHE announced in September that Ecolab became the first environmental services (ES) industry leader to be presented AHE’s prestigious new Innovation Award.

This award was developed by the AHE industry advisory council to recognize and increase awareness of improved products, processes and technological advancements that empower individuals to improve measured outcomes in the health care environment.

Nationwide, ES departments face tremendous operational pressures to improve quality and patient satisfaction scores, assist with decreasing health care-associated infections (HAIs) and dramatically reduce cost wherever possible. Departmental managers must utilize every tool available to improve HCAHPS scores, prevent employee injuries and accomplish these tough operational objectives on a daily basis. Industry manufacturers and suppliers must continuously improve and innovate products and services to meet these demands, while also helping to protect the environment.

Ecolab submitted its Environmental Protection Agency-approved and innovative OxyCide Daily Disinfectant Cleaner, which is a non-bleach sporicidal solution developed for daily use in health care settings. OxyCide is effective in killing a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses, including Clostridium difficile spores in three minutes and multidrug-resistant organisms and viruses in five minutes or less.

Preventing the spread of C. difficile is particularly difficult because its spores are resistant to standard disinfectants and can live on hard surfaces for months. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, C. difficile infections cost the health care industry $1.5 billion each year or approximately $11,285 per case.

Hospital administrators, ES and other clinical and nonclinical disciplines have to work together toward the reduction of HAIs for a number of reasons, including potential reimbursement cuts. Medicare is set to focus on surgical-site infections and infection rates from germs that are resistant to antibiotic treatments. This year’s winner may have created the needed innovative solution.

A panel of ES professionals from the AHE Recognition Committee evaluated the 11 Innovation Award submissions. The winner was selected based on criteria that included process improvement, disruptive technologies and environmentally friendly attributes. Submissions were not limited to industry suppliers and included a medical center.

Honorable mention awards were presented for Orbio Technology’s os3 on-site cleaning and germicidal generator and Xenex’s germ-zapping robot that uses pulsed xenon UV for total room disinfection.

AHE would like to thank and congratulate all of the innovators, including Daniels Sharpsmart Inc., Filmop USA LLC, Cintas, Cleanint LLC, Compaction Technologies Inc., Daylight Medical, Basset Medical Center and SealedAir Diversey Care for their participation and submissions.

AHE looks forward to the next Innovation Award series and encourages health care organizations and industry to participate by sharing their innovations with all AHE members. 

Valuable resources available

AHE represents, defines and advances the professionals responsible for care of the health care environment to ensure high-quality outcomes and healthy communities. Following are a few of the resources that AHE offers.

Recommended Practice Series: Environmental Services Equipment and Supplies. The equipment and supplies covered in this booklet are essential, discrete components of safe, efficient and productive environmental services (ES) operations. For more information, go to www.ahe.org/ahe/learn/tools_and_resources/publications.shtml.

Benchmarks and other Metrics for Effective Linen Management. This webinar looks at metrics such as processing and replacement costs, pounds per adjusted patient day, total cost per pound and labor-distribution cost per pound to help users assess and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of their programs. To access it, log on to www.ahe.org/education.

AHE Environmental Sustainability Certificate Program. AHE has launched a new certificate program to acknowledge the ongoing and outstanding environmental and ecological sustainability efforts of ES departments. For more information on the program, go to www.ahe.org/ahe/lead/environmental_sustainability_certificate_program.shtml.