Safety is our priority at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, states Stephen
P. Zieniewicz, FACHE, president and CEO. Reducing the potential for infection
is at the top of our list, which is why Saint Barnabas Medical Center
recently purchased a state-of-the-art robot to better disinfect hospital
rooms, equipment and surfaces.
It’s called the Xenex Robot, and it uses intense, pulsed xenon ultraviolet
(UV) light to kill viruses, bacteria, mold, fungus and bacterial spores
in just five to 10 minutes per room, without contact or chemicals. Broad-spectrum
UV light penetrates the cell walls of these pathogens, causing their DNA
to fuse and rendering the germs unable to reproduce or mutate.
The robot provides an extra layer of protection after the room has been
cleaned using traditional methods. Housekeepers roll in the 5-foot-tall
robot and position it on both sides of the bed and in the restroom, each
time leaving the room and closing it off—the UV light is too intense
for humans—before the machine goes to work. The machine is able
to disinfect 99.99 percent of dangerous contaminants.
Studies have shown that the robot reduces hospital room contamination 20
times better than standard cleaning. “We already have a strong infection
prevention program in place,” says Mr. Zieniewicz. “This robot
is helping us be more effective at stopping the superbugs that pose a
threat to patients, their families and our staff.”
Of particular concern in hospital settings is a spore-forming bacteria
called Clostridium difficile, or C diff for short. It produces toxins
that cause fever, abdominal pain and acute diarrhea or colitis, an inflammation
of the colon, and it is highly resistant to antibiotics. Studies prove
that hospitals that use the robot reduce health care associated with C
diff by 53 percent, Mr. Zieniewicz says. Likewise, it has been shown to
greatly reduce or eliminate other drug-resistant pathogens, including
enterovirus, MRSA and VRE .
Along with patient rooms, the robot will be used throughout the hospital,
including the intensive care units, medical/surgical suites and operating rooms.
“Our goal,” Mr. Zieniewicz says, “is to eliminate all
infection to become a facility with zero defects that is highly reliable.
The Xenex is an important piece, killing spores and other germs to prevent
healthcare-associated infections and keep our patients safe.”