A hospital in northwest Iowa boasts it’s the first in the state to use a new type of robot to clean rooms.
It’s not like an android out of “Star Wars,” but a mobile, robotic device that uses a pulse of very bright light to wipe out viruses. DeeAnn Vaage, an infection control nurse at Spencer Hospital, says it’s remarkable technology.
“Even if we have the best cleaning and disinfection systems available and the best staff, unfortunately, there are microbes that can remain on surfaces for long periods of time,” Vaage says. “Some of those microorganisms can actually cause disease and infections in patients.” The robot uses rays from a powerful xenon bulb to effectively clean rooms without chemicals.
Vaage says, “This Xenex, using this ultraviolet light, can kill those organisms and add an extra layer of protection for our patients.” Microbiologist Rachel Sparks explains some of the technology behind the device.
“The Xenex robot is a UV disinfection device,” Sparks says. “It’s pushed into a room after normal cleaning and it raises up a bulb. That bulb has xenon gas in it, which is an inert gas, and it produces a very bright flash of UVC light. That UVC is germicidal and it’s able to disinfect surfaces of viruses and bacteria that we know are a threat to patients.”
The robot is being used in both patient and operating rooms at Spencer Hospital. The device can reportedly disinfect a room in five minutes and it can be used more than 30 times a day.