These days with consumers paying more attention to personal well-being, businesses such as test laboratories, hospitality industry and healthcare service providers, need to continuously improve on hygiene standards in their daily operations.
We are not just talking about placing hand sanitizers in the premises. Hygiene management has a much wider scope and includes monitoring the temperature in the facility, handwashing procedures and environmental surfaces like laboratory equipment, medical facilities and restaurant floors and walls.
However, from my visits across Asia, I have observed that many businesses are still using traditional, manual-based methods to manage and maintain hygiene standards in their workplaces. These methods are subject to human errors, lack of transparency and do not provide real-time data monitoring.
With this post, I’m hoping to change the views of business owners on hygiene management by giving you three reasons why having a systematic and scientific-based approach will help keep your stakeholders happy and your customers healthy.
While most laboratories, healthcare facilities and even leading hotels are equipped with some form of equipment to monitor and change differential air pressure, humidity and temperature, many of these tools still lack real-time alerts when environmental measures approach set parameters and unsafe ranges.
For laboratories, one concern is having proper storage and ensuring accuracy of collected lab samples, which are critical to overall patient care. To reduce the risk of compromising the samples from manual data collection, organizations are turning to wireless temperature and environmental monitoring technology tools to monitor storage conditions.
This helps by alerting staff to promptly respond to unsafe storage and facility conditions, reduce product and inventory wastage, as well as limit the number of times lab samples need to be recollected.
Business premises/facilities that have implemented automatic environmental and temperature monitoring solutions have shown improved workflow efficiencies, reduced operating costs and increased clinical quality. Solutions available in the market like Real-Time Location System (RTLS) allow staff to spend less time collecting the data and more time running diagnostic tests and analyzing results.
RTLS, which consists of specialized fixed location sensors receiving wireless signals from small ID badges or tags attached to equipment or people, provides real-time tracking and management of medical equipment, staff and patients.
These tools enable staff to streamline the reporting and compliance processes, which ultimately leads to reduced patient wait time, improved overall patient experience and increased customer satisfaction.
Meanwhile, governments continue to tighten regulations pertaining to the sanitary and hygiene practices for food processors, such as hotels and restaurants, to ensure that food is safe and suitable for consumers. An example is the Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) audit that covers the minimum required compliance for food operators to implement other food safety management initiatives such as GMP, HACCP and ISO 22000.
The US FDA and other regulatory bodies worldwide recommend GHP compliance to ensure that a company is committed to reducing food contamination and food-borne diseases by implementing food safety practices.
One of the greatest infection risks for a customer going into an eatery or a patient entering a healthcare facility is acquiring a pathogen from a prior infected patient or the outlet’s worker. Pathogens that are not removed or killed during cleaning and disinfection procedures can persist on environmental surfaces for weeks and even months.
Maintaining a clean environment is an important factor in reducing the risk of cross contamination. Unmonitored, organic residues can build up to high levels on surfaces if adequate cleaning procedures are not adopted. There are various testing tools available like adenosine triphosphate (ATP) monitoring system which can assess the effectiveness of cleaning procedures and provide real-time results in less than 30 seconds. ATP is often referred to as a cell's “molecular unit of currency”.
There is no way around it, hygiene management must be a chief concern for every business operator as your business’ profitability, productivity and the support of your customers depend on it. Do speak with an experienced partner such as DKSH, who have developed turnkey hygiene management solutions for various business sectors including healthcare, hospitality and laboratory equipment.
Marco Farina joined DKSH in February 2016 as General Manager, Business Line Scientific Instrumentation, Business Unit Technology. He oversees global business development and has spent the last ten years developing and growing business in different emerging markets in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. He now lives in Bangkok with his wife and two kids.