May 30, 2017
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Bacteria-killing lights show promise



The United Hospital System’s test of Indigo-Clean’s bacteria-killing lighting fixtures has been so effective that hospital officials are preparing for the next phase of a pilot test.

Installed in July, the fixtures reduced potentially infection-causing bacteria by 40 percent in two of the hospital system’s intensive care units.

The fixtures, manufactured by Kenall Manufacturing, based in Kenosha, kill bacteria by emitting an indigo-colored light that creates a chemical reaction within an organism.

Kenall president Patrick Marry has said as more lighting fixtures are placed throughout a hospital, the result could be a 70 percent to 80 percent reduction in bacteria.

Thomas Duncan, UHS’s vice president and chief operating officer, said the results improve what officials believe is already a very good cleaning process.

Duncan noted that the experiment is another approach the hospital is taking to make it a safer place for patients.

“We want the public to know that we were already at the gold standard. This makes us even better,” he said.

In May the hospital will launch the next phase with a second generation of fixtures in more hospital areas, possibly an operating room.

First phase

During the first phase the lighting fixtures were moved around in the rooms. The fixtures are designed to produce direct and reflective light and can cover more areas of a room.

Indigo-Clean works on a range of bacteria that are known to cause hospital-acquired infections including MRSA C.diff and VRE, three high-profile micro-organisms.

Indigo-Clean, a unit of Kenall, is the sole producer of the lighting technology. It is in partnership with the developer, the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

Kenall has established a clinical partners program that will serve as a marketing arm to work with hospitals and other types of health-care facilities.

While UHS was the first Indigo-Clean partner to use the technology, fixtures also have been installed in Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa. Indigo-Clean is working to include more hospitals.

Making hospitals safer in an important mission. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 1.7 million Americans develop hospital-acquired infections each year and 99,000 die of them yearly.

The CDC estimated the costs related to hospital-acquired infections is $45 billion per year.


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