Hackensack Meridian Health is the second health system to invest in PurpleSun

Image courtesy of PurpleSun

Hackensack (N.J.) Meridian Health is investing in a new technology aimed at reducing health care-associated infections in its facilities.

The health system runs a $25 million incubator fund run by a panel of experts known as the Bear Den. The panel includes leading physicians, CEO Robert Garrett, other network executives, venture capitalists and patent attorneys who vet proposals from entrepreneurs.

Hackensack’s latest investment is in a company called PurpleSun, which has developed a technology that boasts a 90-second disinfection cycle utilizing a form of ultraviolet light energy. The product has been piloted in operating rooms, post-acute care units, intensive care and emergency departments and has reported a 98 percent effectiveness in eliminating microorganisms in those areas, according to recent reports published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Jerry Zuckerman, vice president of infection prevention and control, says that Hackensack isn’t the first health system to invest in PurpleSun. In fact, he has conducted a site visit at Northwell Health based in New York City to see the product in action.

The PurpleSun device has four accordion-like panels that fold out to create a full enclosure. Equipment such as beds and carts can be locked inside the enclosure for disinfection, while staff continue cleaning and disinfecting the remaining patient care area completely protected from the UV light. Zuckerman says the ability to disinfect equipment while cleaning other spaces could help to improve cycle times and throughput.

“UV light tech is not necessarily new for disinfection,” Zuckerman says. “But the PurpleSun approach was slightly different. It’s an enclosed unit that intensifies the UV light disinfection by focusing it more than disseminating it in a radiant circle. And the turnaround time for decontamination was very quick. One issue with UV light is that you have to close the space for a 20-minute cycle, and no one can be in the room, so it affects throughput.”

Zuckerman says Hackensack will begin piloting the product in its facility in the next two months and will conduct a three-month assessment to track its results. He also says that the 12-hospital system will continue to look for innovative ways to improve health care operations.