Office Environment

The Sterilization Technology My Practice Has Added

By Harvey Hanlen, OD

June 10, 2020

There are many choices in how to sterilize optometry offices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition to effectively killing the virus, we needed a system that was completely safe for people and easily applied throughout the office. Here is the system we chose and why.

After investigating many cleaning solutions, we decided on In Office Sterilization from a new division of Eye Designs. The hypochlorous-based cleaning agent is spread by misting equipment so that all surfaces are quickly and thoroughly covered and cleaned by the solution.

Goal of Cleaning While Doing No Harm to People or Products
After looking into the UV-C lighting cabinets to sterilize frames, I was concerned about the long-term effect on the frame materials, both plastic (zyl) and the metals. It turns out that hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is safe for humans and animals, and in a 500 parts per million (ppm), HOCl kills 99.9 percent of all bacteria and viruses. So, we were wiping down the equipment, desks frames and other surfaces with this product to thoroughly sanitize things.

The e-mist technology from In Office Sterilization, a new Eye Designs business. Dr. Hanlen says the system is efficient and thorough in the cleaning it does of the office.

Then, Richard Winig and Andrew Fader from Eye Designs told me about all of the systems they looked at to best sanitize and disinfect offices, and how they were making available through a new division of their company a misting system that sprays hypochlorous acid throughout the office, so an OD doesn’t have to rely solely on staff remembering to wipe down every corner and crevice.

In one minute the spray dries, does not have to be wiped off and disinfects everything with no residue left behind. It is quick, effective, much less labor intensive than wiping down and truly shows patients our concern for safety and cleanliness.

For more information I would suggest contacting Richard Winig of Eye Designs for details about the package and pricing. The packages include window-cling signage, wall plaques and the graphics needed for social media, e-mail blasts and practice web site to inform your patients about how you are delivering a safe environment for them.

The basic system package with one sprayer and four gallons of liquid costs $2,495. There are also packages with two or three sprayers for larger offices.

Mild Scent and Free of Common Irritants
I cannot stand the bleach smell, and I will not use any product that is alkali-based due to potential irritants, but the gentleness of HOCl, which I use regularly anyway to disinfect my hands in front of patients with a spray, does not harm my skin at all. Excessive soaps dry out our hands, but this product does not.

The sign Dr. Hanlen has placed in his window to alert patients of the new sterilization system in his office. Dr. Hanlen says he wants his patients to have peace of mind that they are protected when visiting his office.

Training Staff to Use the System
We are training staff on how to fill the system’s electrostatic sprayer, making sure we are 36 inches from what we spray and making sure we recharge the sprayer battery at night. All of us in my small office are responsible for knowing how to use this cleaning system. I can see in larger practices that one or two people may be responsible for doing this, but I only have four employees, plus me and another part-time doctor, so it is easier for us to each take responsibility.

Optical Dispensary Sterilization is Simplified
This system makes keeping the optical dispensary sterilized easier. A patient can carry a tray around with them and select frames they wish to look at while my optician also selects frames for them. Then, the patient can try them on, take pictures and send them to people who they want an opinion from. Once they are done browsing and trying on the frames, those frames will be taken in the back. The tags are taken off and put on a small, old-fashioned plastic frame bar, sprayed with the cleaning system’s electrostatic sprayer and in one minute the tag can go back on and the frames can be put back on the board. There is a sign in the optical that says “PLEASE PLACE FRAMES IN THE TRAY AFTER TOUCHING. DO NOT PLACE FRAMES BACK ON THE BOARD. THANK YOU.”

We’re Letting Our Patients Know About Our New Cleaning System
We are promoting our new sterilization system on my office web site, our Facebook page, as well as e-mailing all current patients via our Solutionreach recall system to tell them what we are doing. In addition, we will include news of the new system in our upcoming direct-mail advertising campaigns sent via the postal service.

We want our patients to know that we have invested in a state-of-the-art system to keep them safe.

Harvey Hanlen, OD, is the owner of Dr. Hanlen and Associates Eyes on the Diamond in Boalsburg, Pa. To contact him: drhanlen@drhanlen.com

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