Robots cleaning hospital in New Jersey

May 8, 2012 2:07:30 PM PDT
There is new technology being used to try and fight hospital infections.

The new cleaning is done by a robot called the Xenex pulsed UV disinfectant system. It uses high intensity pulses of xenon gas to produce ultraviolet c radiation. The company says that UV light kills bacteria ,viruses, mold and fungus.

At the Valley Hospital in New Jersey, they're testing 5 robots in intensive care units and operating rooms.

The device is placed in an empty room with the doors shut. It's controlled from a cone and motion sensors are supposed to stop the UV light if it thinks someone's close by. The process takes about 10 minutes, and each robot costs the hospital $80,000 a year.

But the makers of this device say the cost is the equivalent of treating one person with a resistant staph infection

Drug resistant staph, also known as MRSA, and other so-called superbugs are known to remain on surfaces in the hospital despite efforts to thoroughly clean.

In fact, according to the CDC, 1 out of every 20 hospitalized patients will contract a healthcare-associated infection.

So can new technology like this prevent patient infections, save lives and save the hospital money at the same time?

Dr. Mitchell Rubinstein, with Valley Hospital says it's too soon to say, but they plan to find out.

They've only had the robots for two weeks, but plan to test it over the next 3 months and track hospital infection rates to see if they go down.

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