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Complacency kills: Challenging the protectors of the status quo

Friday, October 28, 2016 22:25
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CHICAGO — Rob O’Neal, former Navy Seal and keynote speaker at the International Sanitary Supply Association meeting here this week, reminded the audience of food safety and away-from-home wellness professionals that “complacency kills,” a message that really hit home with those leading the charge to use new technologies in the war waged in the darkness of the microbial world.

A company representative (above) discusses how the measurement of cleanliness is a reassuring reward to workers tasked with deep cleaning. After a simple spray and wipe procedure, workers can swab surfaces and use the scanner (below) to measure, document and report successful cleaning. The system measures Relative Light Units using ATP, Adenosine TriPhosphate. (Photos by Jim Mann)

O’Neal’s passion about action vs. complacency illustrated for the listeners that their mission goes well beyond the cosmetics of their away-from-home environments; diving deeply into the business of saving lives by creating safe zones for the people they serve.

The ISSA brings together a cross section of those protecting lives where we work, study, play and heal. About 700 trade show exhibitors were supported with an array of educational seminars all geared to light a path of continuous improvement in the standards of cleanliness.

ISSA distributors add value to everything they sell by helping define, train and implement integrated solutions. High-touch surface care was a prevailing theme.

There also was a noticeable advance in technologies geared to measure cleanliness and control the many processes involved.

Several cutting-edge technologies were on display, speaking to the minds of those looking to raise efficacy and efficiency while lowering cost and going green. These included on-site generated versions of electrolyzed water and stabilized ozone.

News of a ready-to-use surface sanitizer with 30-second kill of norovirus was celebrated at one booth by a constant flow of interested operators and distributors. Norovirus was the most frequently cited pathogen of interest to the ISSA attendees, many of whom are serving nursing homes, hospitals, the hospitality industry, schools and the workplace where the transmission of cold and flu viruses result in costly absenteeism.

Value-based purchasing (VBP) was a common conversation heard along the many aisles and miles of the McCormick Place Convention Center, driven partly by healthcare’s Affordable Care Act.

The ACA attempts to link the quality of care to reimbursements by Medicare. This is driving the need for numbers to set national standards. But, the many factors in the healing process are difficult if not impossible to measure and compare nationally.

The primary danger lies in the industry’s ability to precisely measure activities like time and out-of-pocket costs associated with the care while being quite limited in measuring outcomes and its variables. A constant downward pressure on costs can deter investment in the very innovations needed to improve outcomes.

Complacent cleaning of hands and high-touch surfaces is likely responsible for many of the 380,000 annual deaths resulting from nursing home acquired infections. The ISSA is committed to help drive this number down.

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