Germ-Killing Robots Are Here

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Germ-Killing Robots Are Here

White Memorial adds three

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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The future has come to White Memorial Medical Center. The hospital recently purchased three germ-zapping robots that will add “oomph” to routine cleaning service.

UV to the Rescue

Fewer than 300 hospitals nationwide have these high-tech microbe-killers and White Memorial is the only Los Angeles County hospital to boast three. The trash-can-size machines lack the charm of R2-D2, but they pack a punch.

How do they work? The robots, manufactured by Xenex, use a high-output pulsed xenon ultraviolet disinfection lamp, which the company says is effective against even the most troublesome pathogens.

The robots are intended to supplement rather than replace normal housecleaning chores. After standard cleaning procedures have been completed, the housekeeping staff brings in the robot to bombard the room with high-intensity UV radiation.

The system requires about five minutes to disinfect a room and can penetrate even hard-to-reach places without contact or chemicals. The UV bombardment — much stronger than sunlight — damages the cell walls of bacteria and viruses, preventing them from reproducing or mutating.

Cleaner Cleaning

Xenex says the system has helped healthcare facilities in the United States reduce their MRSA and Clostridium difficile infection rates by more than 50 percent. That would be good news at any hospital, even White Memorial, which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services already list as one of the 10 cleanest hospitals in Los Angeles.

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