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Shoe sanitizing station fights bacteria in hospitals

A St. Petersburg company is pushing new technology to cut back on infections in health care facilities.

Hospitals are always in need of new and safe ways to prevent infections but think of each person who walks in the door of a health care facility.

Imagine all the places their shoes have been and what might be on them.

Just how bad is it? In 2016, researchers from the University of Arizona found that shoes carried nine different species of bacteria. Even worse, they found these germs transfer to clean surfaces.

To put it bluntly, your shoes can spread more viruses than a toilet. 

Green Earth Medical Solutions in St. Petersburg is hoping to change that and is currently testing a new shoe sanitizer in a Lutz hospital. 

It takes just six seconds. When someone walks into Advent Health Connerton, he or she steps on the little pad and a combination of ozone and ultraviolet light comes on. In no time, your shoes are decontaminated.

Debi Martoccio is the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Advent Health.

"We want to really work hard to the bacterial load being brought in on someone's feet into the organization," said Advent Health Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Debi Martoccio. "Therefore, preventing any type of hospital-acquired infections in our environment."

Scott Beal works as the Chief Operating Officer for Green Earth Medical Solutions, the company behind the sanitizing station.

"I think this can make a significant difference in saving lives and that's our mission here is to come up with new technologies that the hospitals and anybody that has an immune compromised population can layer into their existing protocols," Beal said.

Beal is working hard to get this technology into more hospitals and assisted living facilities where superbugs like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and clostridium diff cause serious problems. 

So far, Martoccio says it's gotten a positive review at Advent Health.

"Our staff are really enjoying it," Martoccio said. "We have nine stations throughout the hospital and our staff takes advantage of walking on those before they come into the hospital and then as they're leaving for the end of the day after work."

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