Welcome to Professional and Technical Services (PTS) – experts in chemical disinfection for infection prevention. Our goal is to educate and provide you the latest resources related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces, medical devices and hands. As specialists in disinfectant chemistries, microbiology, environmental cleaning and disinfection, facility assessments and policy and procedure creation we are dedicated to helping any person or facility who uses chemical disinfectants.

Our expertise is utilized by Infection Preventionists, Public Health Experts, First Responders, Dentists, Physicians, Nurses, Veterinarians, Aestheticians, Environmental Services professionals and janitorial product distributors to develop more sustainable cleaning and disinfection practices in North America.

Our commitment to providing chemical disinfectant education is more than business, it is a passion.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Top 10 Health Hazards for 2020


You never know what can impact our health.  Certainly the media does a great job sensationalizing outbreaks.  If that’s not bad enough we can have disagreements among “experts” as to what is safe or what can pose a long term risk (aka the vaccine debacle of a falsified study linking vaccines to autism).  We know that hand hygiene and disinfection - or lack thereof - can directly impact our health through the spread of hospital associated infections. 

The ECRI Institute recently published their “Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2020”.  The intent of the report is to inform healthcare facilities of potential risks associated with the use of medical devices or systems.  The list is compiled from insights gained through investigating incidents, testing medical devices in the ECRI lab, observing operations and assessing hospital practices, reviewing literature and speaking with healthcare providers.  The 2020 list includes:

  1. Misuse of surgical staples
  2. Adoption of point-of-care ultrasound is outpacing safeguards
  3. Infection risks from sterile processing errors in medical and dental offices
  4. Hemodialysis risks with central venous line catheters (will home dialysis increase dangers?)
  5. Unproven surgical robotic procedures may put patients at risks
  6. Alarm, alert and notification overload
  7. Cybersecurity risks in the connected home healthcare environment
  8. Missing implant data can delay or add danger to MRI scans
  9. Medication errors from dose timing discrepancies in EHRs
  10. Loose nuts and bolts can lead to catastrophic device failures and severe injury



When it comes to cleaning and disinfection, sterile processing errors are unfortunately not a new thing.  In fact, in the 2018 ECRI report, a similar issue was identified.  As we know, failure to follow proper cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilization protocols can result in a compromised device—and devastating effects for patients. As our healthcare expands beyond hospitals to outpatient or ambulatory care clinics, medical offices or home care services we run the risk that these settings do not have infection control practices, certified medical device reprocessing technicians or practices in place to audit, monitor and validate that reprocessing practices are being completed appropriately.

What’s concerning is that while we know incorrectly reprocessed devices can be a source for infection transmission we have not yet found a way to stop this from happening.  Certainly, factors such as not cleaning and disinfectant or sterilizing correctly are obvious issues which leads us to question what training is needed and/or how frequently re-training is required.  But aside from human factors what else is at play?  Is the equipment becoming too complex?  In our need to increase throughput and provide services to as many patients as possible are we not giving enough time to correctly reprocess the devices we are using?  Due to the cost of the devices, do we run with too lean of an inventory?  We need to be contemplating more than just the physical reprocessing of devices as the risk; we need to stand back and look at things from every angle.

Bugging Off!

Nicole

Friday, October 18, 2019

Wrapping Up Infection Control Week



I admit, I love Infection Control Week.  In the past I have been fortunate enough to be involved with events at facilities, education days for infection prevention chapters and more recently, we have developed our own infection control week at our company to remind people of how we can keep healthy during cold and flu season.   It’s amazing how our entire company gets into it…..of course the gift certificates may help!

This week we played 'find the plushie bug'.   It took almost the entire day to find one of them so we’ve become great at hiding.  Of course, the message is that you never know what you might find so looking at how you can keep you environment clean via cleaning and disinfection and practicing good hand hygiene are important pillars for keeping healthy.

We’ve had drawing competitions, riddles, cross word puzzles, word searches and word scrambles to complete.  It was interesting how 3 of the winners work in the same area.  We’re pretty sure that they combined efforts in order to win the prizes…..but I guess that could be a discussion for collaboration and how it takes all of us working together to keep ourselves healthy.

Today was one of my favorites – guess how many bugs are in a jar (aka candy).  Unfortunately, since I bought the candy I was not allowed to guess.  What’s worse, I have a cold, so as much as I would like to steal some from who ever won the jars, in good conscience I can’t.  I want to.  It’s a proven fact that if you pass your cold on to one person you will start to feel better.  Which leads me to the next topic: we can learn to help keep ourselves healthy.  Understand the difference between a cold and a flu.
 
Both colds and the flu are contagious and are caused by viruses. The typical incubation period for influenza (aka the flu) is about one to four days, but some adults can be contagious from about one day before onset of symptoms for up to two weeks after symptoms start. For colds, most individuals become contagious about a day before cold symptoms develop and remain contagious for about five to seven days.  I’m on day 2 of symptoms, with luck I’ve passed it on to someone.  Otherwise, but Monday I should less infectious and starting to feel better!

We’re ending our infection control week with a Kahoot quiz.  We have some competitive people at my company, and its pretty fun watching the competition of everyone trying to win the top spot!  I hope everyone has had as much fun with infection control week as we have.  While it’s fun, the reason behind infection control week is not funny.  HAIs kill, and we all have our part to play in ensuring we keep our patients, our friends, our family and I suppose our colleagues healthy!

Bugging Off!

Nicole

Friday, October 11, 2019

#FF - Christmas is Almost Here!


I truly cannot fathom how we have flown through the year and that Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend!  Fall used to be one of my favorite times of the year.  The weather is cool and crisp, the fall colours are breathtaking, and of course - Halloween. 


As we turn into fall and enter the last quarter of the year, I thought I’d share some upcoming education opportunities! As noted in past blogs, the Teleclass Education by Webber Training is an international lecture series on topics related to infection prevention and control. The objective is to bring the best possible education to the widest possible audience with the fewest possible barriers when trying to access it.  Here's the list of teleclasses for the fourth quarter of 2019:
















For more information on Webber Training, including a full list of the upcoming Infection Prevention and Control Teleclasses, please visit www.webbertraining.com.

I hope many of you will take the opportunity to listen to these teleclasses and share them with your colleagues! After all, we’re entering into colder weather so it’s the perfect time to listen to a teleclass while snuggled under a blanket in front of a fire!

Bugging Off!

Nicole

Friday, October 4, 2019

How Dirty is Your Money?



As you know from past blogs, I travel for work.  Travel is a double-edged sword. On the positive you get to see new cities or countries, meet new people, catch up with old friends and if you’re lucky, make new ones!  The downside is that you’re often stuck in cramped places (aka planes), using taxis or Ubers that have not been cleaned after the last people left, often eating from buffet and handling money as you pay for everything.

This week I was in Seattle at a non-infection prevention conference with 4000 people.  I was able to catch up over coffee with an old friend and eat some wonderful local food, but without a doubt observed some questionable infection control practices (e.g. poor and/or non-existent hand hygiene practices made more difficult by the minimal soap that was dispensed….) so I avoided the using any ice and was careful with my choices in food in the buffet line at breakfast and lunch.  Of course, after reading a new study on the trip to Seattle by Andreas Voss from the Netherlands I also chose not to use any cash and stuck to the use of my MasterCard or Apple Pay.

Did you know that by time your money is taken out of circulation it will have touched hundreds and most likely even thousands of people’s hands?   Think about your use of money: we readily withdraw it from the bank, hand it over when purchasing and readily take back the change from strangers.  Just think about how many dirty hands the bill could have touched over the course of its life!  In Voss’ study, they looked at currency from the US, Europe, Canada, India, Romania, Morocco and Croatia and found that our currency can in fact harbor and spread some nasty bugs.  The upside is that currency used by the USA and EU that is made with a mixture of fibers like cotton and stabilizers like gelatin seem to minimize the ability to allow bacteria to proliferate and/or allow those bugs to transfer to the hands of the next users.  The downside is that currency that is more plastic-based seems to have more of an affinity for growing and sharing anything that may be on it.  The study concluded that the Romanian leu, is quite literally the dirtiest money known to humankind!

Voss’ team used MRSA, VRE and ESBL E. coli as their “bugs du jour”.  The bills were sterilized with UV light, squirted with bacteria, and then allowed to dry before being tested at 3, 6, and 24 hours post inoculation.  They also conducted trials with less-dangerous bacteria where test subjects rubbed the bills between their hands for 30 seconds, to see if anything rubbed off.  The good news is that while many bills retained their bacteria after 3 hours, by 24 hours most showed no more bacteria. The big exception was the leu, a polymer-based bill continued to exhibit growth of all bacteria after six hours, and some remaining MRSA even after a day.  When it came to the transfer test, the Euro did not transfer any of the bacteria tested and the US bill transferred single colonies of Staph.  The Leu on the other hand transferred multiple segments of Staph and E. coli.

All in all, the findings - while interesting and a bit gross - are not really a threat to public health.  However, after handling money you definitely want to wash your hands, so be sure to have a tube of hand sanitizer handy! 

Bugging Off!

Nicole