Baptist Health adds seven “germ-zapping” robots to help enhance safety
February 18, 2015 | Jacksonville, FL
Baptist Health Jacksonville has a new tool in its infection-prevention toolkit: germ-zapping robots that use ultraviolet (UV) light to quickly destroy bacteria, viruses, mold and other pathogens.
Baptist Health has initially purchased seven Xenex Disinfection Services’ germ-zapping robots to be deployed across the Baptist Health hospitals. That is the largest volume of the Xenex robots of any hospital system in north Florida and the first children’s hospital in Florida to use the robots, according to Xenex.
This state-of-the-art disinfection device enhances quality and patient safety through an environmentally friendly technology that uses pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) light to quickly destroy dangerous microorganisms and reduce germs, a continuous source of concern for hospitals. While not intended as a substitute for hand hygiene and traditional cleaning procedures, the robots help improve sanitation efficiency and effectiveness and reduce unnecessary costs related to hospital-acquired infections.
The Xenex robot emits intense, full spectrum UV light that penetrate the pathogens’ cell walls, rendering them inactive and unable to reproduce or mutate; thus impacting the opportunity for infections. The robots have been shown to be 20 times more effective than manual cleaning with chemicals and can disinfect a typical patient/procedure room in five to 10 minutes.
Using UV light that is 25,000 times brighter than sunlight, Xenex robots, according to the manufacturer, are scientifically proven to be effective against the most dangerous pathogens, including Clostridium difficile (C. diff), Ebola virus, norovirus, influenza, and staph bacteria, such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The targeted use of the robots at Baptist Health during the day will include high-risk areas such as isolation patient rooms and in critical care and intensive care units when patients are discharged. During the night and off-peak hours when rooms are not in use, surgical and procedural areas will be targeted. Multiple disciplines, such as environmental services technicians, UV technicians and operating room technicians will receive special training in operating the robots. The robots are meant to augment the current extensive environmental services cleaning procedures.
“These robots provide another added layer of protection for our patients and team members and are part of Baptist Health’s initiative to reduce hospital-acquired infections,” said John Wilbanks, Baptist Health executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We have a host of new prevention efforts that include new Vestex protective uniforms for team members and Vestex patient garments implemented recently with antimicrobial/fluid repellent technology to help fight infection.”
Wilbanks emphasizes that the new technologies will only succeed when combined with an ongoing, organization-wide emphasis on best practices and safety fundamentals including frequent hand-washing. Some other Baptist Health hospital-acquired infection prevention efforts include updated preoperative bathing protocols for surgical patients; enhanced and ongoing education; new and standardized urinary catheter supplies; antibacterial central line dressing kits and improved screening and lab culturing of high-risk patients.