Photo via http://uscvhh.org/
Photo via http://uscvhh.org/

A robot that can disinfect a hospital room in minutes by using UV light to kill bacteria and microorganisms that cause life- threatening infections is one of several new technologies coming to patients served by USC Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale.

The $100,000 portable unit, created by San Antonio-based Xenex Disinfection Services, uses a xenon bulb capable of emitting full-spectrum light rays up to 2,000 times brighter than natural sunlight to genetically destroy 99.9 percent of all microorganisms, even the ones traditional cleaning methods might miss, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“It zaps the entire room with UV light at different frequencies, which helps destroy any remaining bacteria,” Kenny Pawlek, chief operating officer of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, told The Times in an interview Thursday. “It’s very cool.”

The technology will not replace current disinfection procedures, which involve the manual application of a bleach solution on all affected surfaces, but add another level of protection in areas where infected patients have been, according to the newspaper.

Pawlek said the facility is in the process of purchasing three new Xenex robots, which could be up and running sometime next year.

Word of the new additions comes at a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that on a typical day, one in every 25 patients in the United States has at least one hospital-associated infection. Cases of antibiotic-resistant pathogens can often be fatal.

“This creates an opportunity to reduce infections, not only in the operating rooms, but in patient rooms and throughout the hospital,” Dr. Stephanie Hall, chief medical officer for USC Verdugo Hills Hospital as well as USC’s Keck Hospital and Norris Cancer Center, told The Times.

“Using a nontoxic process to disinfect and reduce the possibility of the transmission of infections is really exciting.”

—City News Service

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