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Wednesday, Aug 2, 2017
4 Reasons Why ATP Testing Is Just What the Healthcare Industry Needs
Posted by Erica Montes of
Adenosine triphosphate is a nucleotide used as a coenzyme in living cells. It is also known as the ‘molecular unit of currency’ and is responsible for energy transfer that takes place between cells. ATP is present in all living organisms including microbes like bacteria and viruses, and its presence on surgical instrument, work surface or medical equipment indicates contamination.

ATP testing is widely used to detect biological wastes or residue in almost all safety-sensitive industries. Healthcare, food, hospitality, water quality management and beverage industries widely use ATP testing to determine efficacy of sanitation procedures and ensure compliance with standard safety protocols.

In healthcare, ATP testing enhances and facilitates infection control, sanitation procedures, sanitation staff performance, safety of healthcare professionals as well as patients, and ensures reliable treatment outcomes.

Here are a few reasons why ATP testing has becomes popular in healthcare industry.

1. ATP Testing Simplifies Healthcare Delivery

ATP is found in all living cells including pathogens and animal and human tissues. It has become extremely convenient to use it as an indicator to determine the presence of biological residue on medical equipment, in patient rooms and on surfaces.

ATP verification systems ensure that medical equipment and patient rooms are safe to be reused and re-occupied without risking environmentally transmissible diseases. Quality systems can give readings within seconds and it is possible to validate cleaning work flow procedures on real time basis.

2. Enables Verification of Cleaning Procedures

Thorough, scientific and validated cleaning procedures prevent cross-contamination, accumulation of biological wastes and possibility of infections in hospital premises. HAI (healthcare-associated infections) are infections or health complications that patients acquire while being treated at a healthcare facility. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, on any given day about one in 25 hospital patients acquires at least one healthcare-associated infection.

In 2014, a report published on documented HAIs noted that as per statistics for the year 2011, about 75,000 patients with HAI died during their hospitalizations. The numbers make it clear that hospitals are not as safe or sterile as they are made out to be. The report also states that comprehensive steps on the part of care providers like doctors and nurses, sanitation teams, quality improvement and monitoring departments, public health and healthcare facilities go a long way in reducing rate of HAI occurrence. Studies also show that close to 40% of HAIs occur due to direct transmission by hands of healthcare personnel or by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.

ATP testing helps verify cleaning and sterilization procedures and outcomes in healthcare facilities. ATP testing kits make for excellent tools that help in monitoring and implementing sanitation protocols. When there is a seamless system in place to monitor and verify cleaning procedures, compliance and adherence to safety practices improve drastically.

3. Improves Training Quality

Sanitation policies and protocols are very often ignored or not implemented in busy and large healthcare facilities. When an ATP monitoring test kit is used to check whether surfaces or equipment are sterile, it can help spot variations in practice. Based on the readings feedback can be provided to housekeepers and compliance with recommended procedures can be ensured.

Very often, lack of proper training, absence of awareness among housekeepers regarding the critical nature of their job, poor quality of cleaning chemicals and products used, or an unstructured and improper sanitation plan are the causes of cross contamination. ATP readings will help bring the lapses into light and healthcare facilities are able to take informed decisions regarding implementing more effective safety protocols.

4. Helps in Building an Integrated Approach

A sanitation and sterilization plan will work only when there is a motivated and engaged team working behind it. When sanitation professionals take ownership of the improvement procedures it is easy to foster engagement and education.

ATP monitoring and testing help validate sanitation procedures and when there is a systematic reporting procedure to track variations in practices, it becomes easier to monitor efficiency. This ensures disinfection of all surfaces in a healthcare facility that a patient can potentially come into contact with. ATP testing provides a method to measure outcomes of cleaning processes and it is possible to drastically reduce bioburden of patient care areas.

A comprehensive and standardized cleaning process and hygiene control program will include training in infection control best practices, standardized processes to be implemented in a time-based manner, special safety procedures for high-touch surfaces and an objective method of measuring the outcomes. ATP testing has helped take the process of cleaning a healthcare setting beyond the evident aesthetics to being an integral part of infection control measures.


Healthcare industry is one of the most safety-sensitive industries in the world where even a minor overlook of sanitation protocol can lead to potential loss of lives. Hence ATP testing is of utmost significance, benefit and use to all the stakeholders from doctors and nurses, to patients as well as communities at large.

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