Disinfecting robot to the rescue. One of the biggest issues facing hospitals today is the spread of antibiotic-resistant staph infections like MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). These pathogens are particularly dangerous for people with compromised immune systems like those with HIV and rates of MRSA infections have been found to be higher among those with HIV than the general population. (Find out if you're at risk here.)
Can a giant robot be the answer? The Catholic Medical Center certainly thinks so.
One of New Hampshire's largest medical centers, Catholic Medical Center (CMC) employs Tru-D robots to disinfect their hospital rooms. The SmartUVC robot uses ultraviolet technology to disinfect a room by turning up the heat on microorganisms.
"The proper dose of UV light energy generated by Tru-D modifies the DNA structure of an infectious cell so that it cannot reproduce, and a cell that cannot reproduce cannot colonize and harm anyone," explained Karen Kennett, director of infection prevention at CMC in a statement.
According to the joint statement by Catholic Medical Center and Tru-D, the hospital staff can operate the robot from outside any hospital room with a hand-held remote control. The SmartUVC automatically analyzes the dimensions of any room, then measures and releases the precise dose of UV light rays required to safely eliminate germs, even those impossible to see with the naked eye.
The robot can be used in patients' rooms, emergency rooms, waiting rooms and operating rooms. Once a room in the hospital is cleaned by traditional methods, the hospital sends in SmartUVC, which scans every surface and probes every corner, accounting for equipment and the UVC reflectivity of specific materials. Following the scan, the robot emits a pulse of UV light to kill microorganisms that could pose health threats. Afterward, the robot wirelessly transmits a report to hospital staff to track results.
"Our commitment to quality means taking aggressive steps to protect patients from unforeseen circumstances," said Dr. Joseph Pepe, president and CEO of CMC in the statement. "This high-tech solution is 99.9 percent effective in eliminating viruses, bacteria and other pathogens."
It takes the robot 15 to 20 minutes to disinfect an average size hospital room. Its rays can reach into the bathroom from the center of the hospital room. The robot eliminates pathogens that may have settled on surfaces. The technology is aimed at eliminating multi-drug resistant organisms and the UV light the robot exudes can destroy influenza, norovirus, MRSA, CRE, VRE and even Ebola.
"Hospital staff cannot fight these growing antibiotic-resistant infections alone," said Chuck Dunn, president and chief executive officer of Tru-D. "[ SmartUVC ] is the ideal technology asset for infection prevention teams, like the one at Catholic Medical Center, because of its repeatedly proven efficacy in eliminating dangerous pathogens and creating safer patient and staff environments."
At CMC—and many other hospitals—patients who test positive for, show symptoms of or have a recent history of having one of these multidrug resistant illnesses are confined in “contact isolation” rooms during their hospital stay. Upon their discharge, the Tru-D robot can be employed to eliminate any pathogens that may have been left behind.
"This will decrease the risk of transmitting drug-resistant pathogens that can cause infection," said Kennett. "It protects patients, families and staff by decontaminating a hospital room that has been used by someone with a contagious infection."
According to Tru-D, more than 300 of their UV-disinfection-technology-firing robots have been used in hospitals around the world, including the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland; Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia and Ebola Treatment Units at ELWA Hospital and Island Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.
For information and links to independent studies visit Tru-D.com.