Porter Adventist Hospital debuts an army of germ-fighting robots

Centura Health’s Porter Adventist Hospital debuted a new way to fight hospital-acquired infections: germ-fighting robots.

Xenex bots will roam the halls of Porter Adventist, killing germs. (Courtesy of Porter Adventist)
Xenex bots will roam the halls of Porter Adventist, killing germs. (Courtesy of Porter Adventist)
Xenex bots will roam the halls of Porter Adventist, killing germs. (Courtesy of Porter Adventist)

Centura Health’s Porter Adventist Hospital debuted a new way to fight hospital-acquired infections: germ-fighting robots.

As of Tuesday, Porter Adventist became the first Centura hospital to make use of this new form of technology.

Now, don’t get too excited. There won’t be R2-D2s and BB-8s storming the halls of Porter Adventist. But the two new robots, produced by Texas-based Xenex Healthcare Services, will make use a xenon UV disinfection system to make the hospital a cleaner place.

UV light has been used for sanitization for decades, but the Xenex robots are the first to use full-spectrum pulsed xenon, which is a safer and more effective means of killing germs. The higher intensity UV rays from pulsed xenon penetrate microorganisms, rendering them harmless.

Disinfecting one room can take under 10 minutes, and results have been proven in several studies.

According to one study, after 18 months of use in a North Carolina hospital, MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infection rates fell 57 percent. Another study found that surgical site infections fell 100 percent after one year of UV sanitization in an Alabama-area hospital.

Porter Adventist’s rate of hospital-acquired infection is quite low, according to Medicare.org. Infection rates are either on par with or better than the national average and typically beat nearby hospitals’ infection rates, as well.

But Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Drake says Porter Adventist is attempting to “chase zero” hospital-acquired infections.

“Some superbugs have become resistant to cleaning chemicals and antibiotics (antibiotic resistance is a serious problem), so new weapons are needed in the battle against germs,” Drake wrote in an email. “That’s where these robots shine.”

These UV disinfecting robots are currently used in one other Denver-metro hospital — Rose Medical Center, which acquired an older version of the technology in 2013 — and about 350 hospitals worldwide.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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