Few things are as important in the healthcare environment as effective disinfection.
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are frighteningly common, costing lives and increasing expenses for a sector already working tirelessly to contain both.
Fogging is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional manual cleaning regimens, offering advanced disinfection without compromise. However, as a newer technology, it’s also clouded by misconceptions about its cost, efficacy, and environmental impact.
Here are the top five myths about fogging and the truth about its use in the healthcare setting.
#1 Fogging Is Too Expensive
If your organization is counting every cost, you’re not alone. A recent report from the American Hospital Association found that healthcare providers across the US face “extraordinary financial pressures” as rising costs significantly outpace Medicare and insurance reimbursements.
In this environment, considering new disinfection solutions may feel like a financial non-starter. After all, wouldn’t a more efficient and effective disinfection solution be more expensive than its less impactful counterparts?
In fact, automated disinfection technology can be more effective at disinfecting treatment spaces and less expensive to operate.
Healthcare providers already spend enormous sums on labor and products that are inexpertly deployed and unpredictable to quantify. Meanwhile, automated disinfection technology has quantifiable costs and demonstrable impact on reducing healthcare-associated infections, which cost the collective healthcare system up to $45 billion annually.
To prove that fogging is a cost-effective disinfection solution, Nevoa offers healthcare providers the ability to try the system before making any long-term commitment. This allows users to experience the increased efficacy and financial affordability without incurring start-up costs.
#2 Fogging Is Too Time Consuming
Some healthcare providers have tried fogging solutions in the past and found them too time-consuming.
For example, when providers use hydrogen peroxide for disinfection, they must let rooms sit unused for several hours for the fog to dispense, the chemical action to occur, and the off-gassing to complete. Depending on the air exchange in the room, this can take up to four hours — an eternity in a busy healthcare setting.
However, when fogging with hypochlorous acid (HOCl), healthcare providers can disinfect with a nontoxic solution that reaches 100% of surfaces and room air and allows for immediate room re-entry. In fact, fogging with hypochlorous acid has been proven to be 300x more effective than manual cleaning alone, while demonstrating a 64% labor savings and minimal impact on room turn time.
#3 The CDC and AORN Prohibit Fogging for Disinfection
Previous attempts by healthcare providers to use fog for disinfection included using toxic chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, bleach, formaldehyde, phenol-based agents, and quaternary ammonia compounds. Fortunately, the CDC and AORN advised against fogging these chemicals to protect patients and staff.
However, more recently, the CDC noted, “These recommendations do not apply to newer technologies involving fogging for room decontamination that have become available since the 2003 and 2008 recommendations were made.”
Modern HOCl-based products address many of the concerns posed by the CDC, AORN, and others, including using safe, EPA-certified cleaning products and implementing ready-to-use (RTU) solutions. Thanks to advancements in automated disinfection technology, these recommendations will soon be reviewed — and likely updated — in the coming year.
#4 Fogging Chemicals Are Bad for People and the Environment
Clinical and Environmental Services (EVS) personnel often encounter harmful substances during cleaning routines. These include chemicals like acetic acid (AA), hydrogen peroxide (HP), peracetic acid (PAA), bleach, and quaternary ammonium compounds (quats), which negatively impact the environment and pose potential health risks to those exposed to them.
A study conducted by the Respiratory Health Division of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that “exposure to a product containing HP, PAA, and AA contributed to eye and respiratory symptoms reported by hospital cleaning staff at low levels of measured exposure.”
However, fogging as a practice isn’t the problem. It’s what you use to fog that matters.
HOCl is a non-toxic, environmentally friendly disinfection solution that is safe for people and the planet. The FDA considers HOCl to be “the form of free available chlorine having the highest bactericidal activity against a broad range of microorganisms.”
This allows healthcare providers to experience the benefits of fogging without putting their people or the environment at risk.
#5 Any Disinfectant Can Be Used in a Fogger
Only EPA-approved solutions can be used. Otherwise, they may be dangerous and/or ineffective.
Specifically, the EPA explains, “Unless the pesticide product label specifically includes disinfection directions for fogging, fumigation, wide-area or electrostatic spraying, or application via drones … EPA does not recommend using these methods to apply disinfectants. EPA has not evaluated the product’s safety and efficacy for methods not addressed on the label.”
The CDC adds, “Disinfectant products are approved for certain devices or equipment and are not interchangeable with different products.”
Fogging is safe and effective when healthcare providers use the right products in the right way. By following the latest EPA and CDC guidelines, providers can confidently deploy this powerful technology.
Healthcare Disinfection Doesn’t Have to Include Compromises
Fogging in healthcare settings is often misunderstood, plagued by myths about its cost, time consumption, safety, and environmental impact. Meanwhile, HOCl-based fogging ensures thorough and efficient disinfection without the adverse effects associated with traditional chemicals.
Healthcare providers looking to enhance their disinfection protocols should consider Nevoa’s innovative fogging technology. Don’t let outdated misconceptions hinder your facility’s safety and efficiency. Contact Nevoa today for a transformative approach to disinfection that aligns with the latest guidelines and technological advancements.