Measurement of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) using portable bioluminometers has been adapted from the food manufacturing sector, and it has been suggested that it could be used as an indicator of surface soiling or cleanliness in hospital settings. Some healthcare authorities are considering the use of portable ATP bioluminometers as a tool for standard setting for surface cleanliness to improve cleaning standards. Central to this approach is the use of a commonly accepted level of detected ATP—expressed as relative light units (RLUs)—that may be used as a surrogate for underlying soiling, including the presence of pathogenic microorganisms.
It has been demonstrated that improvements can be made to cleaning processes with fluorescent markers through a simpler approach that provides a qualitative efficiency measurement of the cleaning process. Measurement of surface hygiene using ATP bioluminometers is thought to provide a more quantitative surrogate of surface cleanliness.