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ISS Facility Services uses technology in fight against HAIs

ISS, one of the world’s biggest providers of service solutions for the healthcare industry, uses flexibility, innovation and best practices to match customer needs. Recently, focus has been on reducing Hospital Acquired Infections

For a number of years ISS, one of the world’s biggest facility service companies, has focused on strengthening its activities in the field of healthcare. Through innovation, strategic expansion and acquisitions, ISS has established itself as one of the industry’s leading providers of hospital services.

ISS, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, is present in more than 50 countries and covers a wide array services within healthcare, including cleaning, logistics, equipment management, landscaping, security and catering. This integrated facility service approach enables hospital staff to focus entirely on treatment of patients and has improved quality and customer experience at hospitals across the globe.

A core element in ISS’ strategy is working closely with the customers and meeting ever changing needs. This means flexibility and innovation is part of every day life wherever ISS operates.

In Singapore, ISS healthcare staff use hand held devices to secure optimum workflow, and a new bed management concept has been developed together with one of the big hospitals.

ISS units in the UK are testing cleaning with ionized water to reduce the use of chemicals.

And in the Netherlands, ISS’ healthcare division recently won a Golden Service Award for being the best learning company. The award was given because of a close collaboration with nursing staff at the Waterland Hospital in Pumerend, near Amsterdam. The collaboration means ISS staff now takes care of more duties around the patient including visitor and staff catering, household duties, logistics and patient food service, allowing nursing staff to focus on their primary duty of taking care of the patient.

“The training our staff receives is not only an enriching experience for them, it also represents an exceptional concept in healthcare and signifies a new dimension in the cleaning sector,” says Jan Kreeft, managing director, ISS Healthcare in the Netherlands.

As one of the leading suppliers of facility services ISS has established a number of excellence centres to capture best practice and working methods from the global operation, to document these and make them available to the whole organisation. This means hospitals can benefit from ISS’ experience from 53 countries with everything from cleaning to escalator maintenance and transportation of laboratory test results.

Recently, ISS has increased its focus on Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs). HAIs are estimated to more than double the mortality and morbidity risks of patients receiving treatment in hospitals. In the United States, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly 1.7 million hospital-associated infections cause or contribute to 99,000 deaths each year.
In the United Kingdom, where ISS has one of its most advanced healthcare units, HAIs were targeted specifically last year through a number of efforts.

“During 2009 we approached reducing HAIs in a focused and systematic way including education and training, methods of work, tools and materials, research and development, measurement and communication,” states Simon Cox, chief operating officer, ISS Facility Services Healthcare in the United Kingdom.

While there is no single solution to HAIs, ISS has initiated a number of efforts to reduce them:
• All employees are given mandatory company infection control training to complement any client led policies and procedures.
• Service development managers with Control of Infection qualifications were appointed to constantly review ISS Healthcare Cleaning service delivery methods.
• Standard company Control of Infection and Healthcare Cleaning manuals are used in conjunction with our clients’ infection control specialists to provide information and guidance for ISS Healthcare Cleaning managers and supervisors and are updated regularly.
• Healthcare cleaning workshops and forums have been held for ISS managers to highlight and share best practice.
• We have developed company standard methods of delivering Healthcare Cleaning in the patient environment based on isolation room style cleaning.
• The Vermop cleaning system, proven to be more effective than conventional cleaning methods.
• Both site based and mobile deep clean units have been introduced to provide a facility to clean patient equipment such as drip stands, beds and commodes.
• ISS has developed with the manufacturer a highly effective and low energy laundry system for mops and cloths that disinfects against HAIs using the latest ozone technology.

“During 2010 we will continue to work together with our NHS clients to control and reduce the spread of HAIs,” says Simon Cox.

Among the planned measures in 2010 is increased use of the OTEX system, a washing system able to kill bacteria, viruses and superbugs, because of its proven ability to reduce HAIs and its low impact on the environment compared with traditional disinfecting methods. Also, mobile and site based deep clean units will be used to ensure the patient environment is free from MRSA and C.difficile bacteria.

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