Baltimore has been invaded by germ zapping robots. Humans need not fear. They are here to help us, not harm us.
The invader, Xenex robot, uses pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV-C) light that is 25,000 times more powerful than sunlight to destroy harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even bacterial spores. The system is effective against even the most dangerous pathogens, including Clostridium difficile (C. diff), norovirus, influenza, and staph bacteria, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.
The robot can disinfect a room in minutes and is easily portable, allowing it to be used in virtually any location within the hospital. MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center is the first hospital in the Baltimore region to use the Xenex room disinfection system. When used at other healthcare facilities in the U.S., it has been credited for helping decrease their MRSA and C.diff infection rates by more than 50 percent, according to studies.
The robot is used in conjunction with the standard cleaning. To disinfect a room after standard cleaning procedures are complete, hospital team members wheel the Xenex robot into the room, position it, begin the automated sequence, and then leave the room. A sign is placed outside the room warning people not to enter while the robot is in operation, and a motion sensor on the robot automatically shuts off the machine if anyone should enter, or if motion is detected. Each treatment takes about 5 minutes. The process is then repeated on the other side of the bed and in the bathroom, for a total of 15 minutes to thoroughly clean each room. By using UV light, the Xenex robots are able to reach every surface in the room and do not leave a chemical residue.