Document Type


Version Deposited

Published Version

Publication Date


Publication Title

J Osteopath Med




CONTEXT: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare-associated infections have taken center stage. Healthcare has adjusted workflows to accommodate for more robust disinfecting regiments to help protect the community. This has resulted in the need for medical institutions to reevaluate the current disinfection protocols down to the student level. The osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) laboratory provides an optimal avenue for assessing the effectiveness of medical students' ability to clean examination tables. With OMM laboratories having a high level of interaction, adequate disinfection is important for the health and safety of students and teaching faculties.

OBJECTIVES: This study will evaluate the effectiveness of the current disinfection protocols in the medical school OMM labs.

METHODS: A cross-sectional, nonrandomized study was performed on 20 OMM examination tables utilized for osteopathic training. Tables were chosen based on their close proximity to the podium. Close proximity was utilized as a criteria to increase the probability of utilization by students. The sampled tables were observed to ensure their use by students during class. Initial samples were collected in the morning after disinfection by Environmental Services. Terminal samples were collected after Osteopathic medical students utilized and disinfected the OMM examination tables. Samples were collected from the face-cradle and midtorso regions and analyzed utilizing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence assays with an AccuPoint Advanced HC Reader. This reader provides a digital readout of the quantity of light measured in relative light units (RLUs), which is directly correlated to the amount of ATP present in the sample, providing an estimated pathogen count. For statistical analysis, a Wilcoxon signed-rank test was utilized to find statistical differences in RLUs in samples after initial and terminal disinfection.

RESULTS: The face cradle showed a 40 % increase in failure rate in samples after terminal disinfection when samples were compared after initial disinfection. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test revealed an estimated pathogen level for face cradle that was significantly higher after terminal disinfection (median, 4,295 RLUs; range, 2,269-12919 RLUs; n=20) compared to initial disinfection (median, 769 RLUs; range, 29-2,422 RLUs; n=20),

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that medical students frequently failed to disinfect high-touch regions on examination tables, such as the midtorso and the face cradle. It is recommended that the current OMM lab disinfection protocol be modified to include the disinfection of high-touch regions in order to reduce the possibility of pathogen transmission. Further research should explore the effectiveness of disinfection protocols in clinical settings such as outpatient offices.

Published Citation

Patrizio HA, Phyu R, Boyle T, Schachter T. The effectiveness of disinfection protocols in medical school osteopathic manipulative medicine labs. J Osteopath Med. 2023 Jun 14. doi: 10.1515/jom-2022-0213. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37310398.