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Robot Battles Superbugs

Shining a Light on Hospital-Acquired Infections


Patients and their families at Children’s Hospital Central California may see a Xenex robot moving around patient areas or flashing bright light inside a room. This special new team member is helping us keep our patients safe from hospital-acquired infections.

Xenex RobotThe Xenex technology uses an incredibly powerful ultraviolet light that deactivates bacteria, spores, fungi, mycobacteria and viruses – such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C.diff) – on room surfaces. For the same reason handwashing is important, disinfecting hospital surfaces is essential. One of the company’s references reported a 67 percent reduction in their rate of C. diff infections after adding the Xenex system to their room cleaning protocol. “We hope to see similar results,” Xenex robot in usesaid Dr. David Christensen, vice president medical affairs and chief medical officer, Children’s Hospital.

Children’s recently began deploying the robot in critical areas to keep patients safe and healthy, including the operating room and Starship Craycroft, our inpatient unit for patients with potential immune deficiency conditions. This includes cancer, hematology, nephrology, rheumatology and endocrinology patients.

As we monitor anticipated improvements in patient care using this latest technology, we plan to expand the use of the robot to additional high-risk areas of infection such as the pediatric intensive care unit and other Xenex robot in usepost-discharge, acute care rooms where isolation precautions are in place.

To ensure no one is in the room while the robot is activated, the device is equipped with motion detectors to sense movement and prevent accidental exposure. “Caution – Do Not Enter” signs are also posted as appropriate. The main risk from exposure to UV light is skin and eye irritation. The UV light cannot penetrate doors, glass or plastic.

“We are excited about adding this new system to reduce hospital-acquired infections and keeping our patients safe from harm, which is our top priority,” said Dr. Christensen.

See the Xenex technology demonstration.