PATIENT SAFETY Many hospitals are turning to UV disinfecting robots to help offset human error, such as missed hand washing opportunities, which tend to result in infections.
Good hygiene practices have reduced exposure to pathogens during hospital stays. Yet the number of people who die in the U.S. from hospital-acquired infections is about the same as from AIDS, breast cancer and auto accidents combined.
“Hospitals are investing in solutions to make the environment safer for patients so the sick don’t get sicker,” says Dr. Mark Stibich, chief scientific officer for Xenex, the maker of pulse xenon light technology that destroys superbugs before they harm patients.
The most common and hardest-to-kill bacterial infection is Clostridium difficile (C. diff). MRSA is still an threat, along with growing cases of CRE (Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae), which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls a “nightmare bacteria” because of its resistance to most antibiotics.
“’We have a 30 percent reduction in CDI with use of the robot.’”
Taken to task
The Mayo Clinic is among those putting UV robots to work. According to Dr. Priya Sampathkumar, head of UV Disinfection at the Mayo Clinic, the hospital had a strong environmental cleaning practice in place and good infection controls, including the use of bleach. Still, there were areas in the facility with C. diff rates higher than institutional averages.