Hackensack Meridian Health Funds New Technology to Reduce Hospital-Acquired Infections

The network established a $25 million investment in innovation to bring breakthroughs in health care delivery to market

Hackensack Meridian Health announced that it is funding the development of new technology that uses a form of ultraviolent light energy to keep hospitals clean and safe.

The device was developed by PurpleSun, the only company to develop technology with a 90- second disinfection cycle utilizing a form of ultraviolet light energy. It has been piloted in operating rooms, post-acute care units, intensive care and emergency departments and has reported a 98 percent effectiveness in eliminating microorganisms in those areas, according to recent reports published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The Wall Street Journal called PurpleSun a “Game Changer in Health-Tech’’ and noted that PurpleSun is living up to claims it can partner with large healthcare providers to meet their important needs in the era of value-based care, which rewards hospitals and providers for keeping patients healthy and out of the hospital.

Although significant progress has been made in preventing healthcare-associated infections, there is much more work to be done, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Infections. On any given day in the nation, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection, according to the CDC.

“Innovation is in our DNA at Hackensack Meridian Health and we are proud to fund this exciting technology which will ultimately add to our robust strategies to keep our patients safe and healthy’’ said Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health.

“Preventing the transmission of antibiotic resistant bacteria and infections in our hospitals is foundational for patient safety,’’ said Dr.  Jerry Zuckerman, vice president of infection prevention and control at Hackensack Meridian Health.

Hackensack Meridian Health is joining other investors, such as Northwell Health in New York. The funding will enable PurpleSun to manufacture and enter the commercialization phase as it grows to meet demand and serve the two largest integrated health networks in the tri-state area with approximately 40 hospitals.

Hospital-acquired infections are not only detrimental to patients; they drive up health care costs unnecessarily with longer hospital stays, readmissions or other costly care.

The device allows a much faster, more effective automated light based delivery systems which can disinfect equipment like beds and carts as well as spaces and rooms for the purpose of ensuring that the environment is well prepared and ready for patient use.

The technology is the second innovation funded through Hackensack Meridian Health’s $25 million fund. A panel of experts – including leading physicians, CEO Robert Garrett and other network executives, venture capitalists, patent attorneys – vets proposals from entrepreneurs.

The experts, known as the Bear’s Den, gather regularly to consider investing in a variety of potential breakthroughs to enhance care delivery, patient satisfaction and to make care more cost effective.

The first project funded through Bear’s Den, Pillo, is a health robot for the home and automatically dispenses and refills medication and provides options for other care including telemedicine consultations between patient and physician.

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