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A Healthcare Poka Yoke Against MRSA

In the latest issue of Men’s Health magazine, there is a little blurb about MRSA resistant paint. In testing, all MRSA bacteria died after 20 minutes of exposure to the painted surface.

MRSA Under an Electron Microscope (Photo from the CDC's Public Health Images Library)

A little further research found a more detailed article on the coating. The paint can actually be used on surgical equipment as well. The researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York expect a general commercial product to be available within a year, and health-care applications to take three years to make it through the regulatory process. (The time it takes to get through the approval process is fodder for a whole different article.)

Now, this is a Lean principle at its finest: Create a poka yoke that takes some of the burden off employees. Since the paint only targets MRSA, it doesn’t eliminate the need to wash hands and follow sanitation procedures, but it does add in a layer of safety. And best of all, that extra security doesn’t require an additional process step.

I’m sure that there are limitations to the paint—expense, effective life, etc. But it is certainly a step in the right direction in regards to dealing with serious infections.


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