Nelson Patterson, CEO
Healthcare facilities often find that infectious pathogens can spread through poor infection prevention protocols and practices, like failing to wash hands, change PPE, clean rooms properly, or use proper antibiotics. But research today in the COVID-environment has shown that floors and shoe soles can lead to inadvertent spread of bacteria and germs from room-to-room, too, forcing IPC professionals and care staffs to re-evaluate how they address the role of air, floors, and footwear. The lack of proper review and studies regarding the role shoes play in aiding and abetting the spread of infectious agents has left healthcare facilities lacking a proper solution to combat the transmission of pathogens and prevent the increase of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
HealthySole provides the much-needed infection control solution for footwear disinfection and a reduction in environmental contamination. Founded by the father-son duo, Robert Kassel and Peter Kassel, HealthySole initially focused on offering a fool-proof method for cleaning shoe soles for people who lived in tight quarters in New York City. Today, the company delivers a holistic infection control solution, the HealthySole®
Plus, which employs proprietary high-output plasma stable UVC lamps and patented Plastic Encapsulation Technology, to deliver germicidally-effective UVC light to the soles of healthcare provider footwear. With just an 8-second exposure to the soles of footwear, the HealthySole PLUS has been clinically proven to effectively combat bacteria, viruses, fungi and spores on shoe soles and decrease the overall microbial load in the care environment. By reducing the pathogen load in the care environment, the HealthySole PLUS can help reduce the risk of the aerosolizing, migration, and transfer of infectious pathogens that heighten the possibilities of HAIs.
In conversation with MDTech Review, Nelson Patterson, the CEO of HealthySole, mentions how HealthySole Plus can be a significant addition to any healthcare facility’s infection control program due to its UVC germicidal killing system that eradicates footborne infectious organisms with minimal workflow disruption.
Could you mention some of the challenges your clients face?
Most of our clients are looking for ways to reduce the contamination in their overall work or commercial environment. Obviously, that’s especially true in the hospital, where residue from surgical theatre floors may be tracked into the recovery rooms or even to patient step-down rooms, and then colonize and grow in that environment. Simple movement in the room by caregivers and family members aerosolizes the infectious agent, leaving patients at risk for hospital-acquired infections. But it isn’t limited to hospitals alone: this concern also rings true for the hotel and hospitality industry, where guests demand a contactless registration experience. With this arena being one of the busiest places with many people arriving and leaving the building, oftentimes, the guests and the staff track-in pathogens that can increase the contamination level within the facility. We also have clients in the food manufacturing space where several companies have to maintain proper quality control within their testing centers. They need to ensure that their clean rooms are maintained and cleaned thoroughly to reduce cross-contamination risks. Even with dedicated footwear to enter these rooms, the shoes become potent carriers of infectious pathogens inside the cleanroom environment, thus violating sanitation standards.
HealthySole Plus is at the forefront of assuring a cleaner and safer environment for patients, doctors, healthcare staff, and the families that visit their loved ones
We have also noticed growing concerns around the transmission of germs among our clients in the fire department, where the firemen’s boots become potential carriers of contaminated soil, sewage, or other biohazards from the site of a fire. This has resulted in the contamination of the truck and all other areas where the firemen had been present, along with their living quarters. This was proof that no matter how thorough the cleaning protocols are in any facility, it may still not be sufficient to ensure complete sanitation and cleanliness. We’re helping them address that now.
COVID-19 has shifted the outlook of several healthcare facilities from not just ensuring HAI prevention but also preventing contamination. With the influx of infectious patients during the pandemic, hospitals have become busier than ever, which has increased the risk of spreading contamination.
Please elaborate on the functionalities of HealthySole Plus and its application.
The HealthySole Plus device is a complete shoe sole infection control solution that uses UVC (245-nanometer wavelength, the peak wavelength for germicidal effectiveness)as a chemical-free, all natural disinfectant. When controlled and exposed to shoe soles, this light proves to be effective at killing many pathogens that cause HAIs. The device is made of hospital-grade stainless steel and consists of patented bumps designed on the shoe outline to spread out the tread on uneven soles and offer maximum exposure to the light. Independent ASTM-certified laboratory testing proves the HealthySole Plus helps kill up to 99.99% percent of the germs within just eight seconds. It also comes with safety features that ensure the shoes are correctly aligned with the device outline. As an added safety feature, sensors won’t activate the UVC disinfecting light if an individual’s skin is exposed or someone attempts to stand barefoot on it.
For effective results, individuals are required to place their foot down on the bumped foot grid, beginning with the heel and rolling to the toe. A digital screen provides confirmation of proper foot alignment. Once the screen displays that the foot is in the right position, the device activates, and within eight seconds, users achieve up to a 99.99% eradication of potentially infection-causing pathogens from their shoe soles. Once this process is completed, a green checkmark appears on the screen that lets them know that the disinfecting is done, and they can step down from the device.
Our product has been tested and designed to be durable and resilient and can function well beyond seven years. The device can be maintained well if clients change the bulbs inside once every year, ensuring they get peak germicidal light while disinfecting shoe soles. We also offer a dust shield on the device, which is a thin piece of translucent Teflon that stops any debris or dirt from entering the device and hamper its operations. Clients may need to change this dust shield every month depending on the amount of loose particulate matter on shoes in the use environment to maintain a pristine operating order of HealthySole Plus.
What differentiates HealthySole Plus from other infection control devices in the marketplace?
Our product comes with strong clinical evidence from the tests that we have conducted and the studies conducted by several third-parties. For instance, the American Society of Testing Methodologies (ATSM) certified laboratory MicroChem has conducted extensive testing of our product and found it useful in eradicating known pathogens associated with HAIs or foodborne illnesses. Another laboratory has used the Coronavirus marker to test our product and found that HealthySole Plus was effective at over a 99.74% eradication rate. Our product has also been proven to kill the Clostridium difficile pathogen at over an 85% eradication rate in just eight seconds. These studies have played a crucial role in providing clinical evidence for HealthySole Plus. It also helps that our device is designed to be extremely durable and easy to install at minimal costs.
What lies ahead in the future for your organization?
In the wake of the pandemic, HealthySole Plus has become a lifesaver for airlines, hotels, homes, gyms, law enforcement, restaurants, long-term care facilities, and several food-handling and packaging units. Going forward, we aim to expand further into the healthcare environment. Our product can be effectively used in hospital pharmacies and sterile processing areas such as the infusion center for chemotherapy and the surgical recovery center. We also want to introduce our product into doctors’ clinics and dentists’ offices where several patients hesitate to visit in fear of contracting unwanted diseases. In the post-pandemic world, we expect to see an increased emphasis on contamination and infection prevention. HealthySole Plus is at the forefront of assuring a cleaner and safer environment for patients, doctors, healthcare staff, and people in general.