Home >Study reveals 'major gaps' in surface cleaning

Study reveals 'major gaps' in surface cleaning

29 September 2015

Tray tables, bed rails, light switches, and toilets are common areas for swapping germs between patients and healthcare workers, but there is a lack of evidence on the best ways to clean surfaces, according to research by US academics.

A systematic overview in the American journal, the Annals of Internal Medicine, points to several promising cleaning tactics of these ‘high-touch surfaces’, but there’s a lack of evidence as to which is the most effective at reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).


Few studies measured patient outcomes or focused on newer technologies, and even less compared cleaning tactics with one another — important gaps to fill as the US healthcare system works to reduce the 75,000 HAI-related deaths that occur annually.


The systematic overview was led by Craig A Umscheid, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and senior associate director at the ECRI Institute-Penn Medicine Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded Evidence-Based Practice Center (EPC), Jennifer Han, an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology, and Brian Leas and Nancy Sullivan, research analysts in the ECRI-Penn AHRQ EPC.


Their work revealed major gaps in existing evidence for the best practices for cleaning hospital room surfaces to prevent HAIs, including Clostridium difficile, MRSA, and VRE.  

Lead author Jennifer Han said: "The cleaning of hard surfaces in hospital rooms is critical for reducing healthcare-associated infections."


She added: "We found that the research to date does provide a good overall picture of the before-and-after results of particular cleaning agents and approaches to monitoring cleanliness. Researchers now need to take the next step and compare the various ways of cleaning these surfaces and monitoring their cleanliness in order to determine which are the most effective in driving down the rate of hospital-acquired infections."


See the research at here.