images-2Bacteria has become the bane of hospitals.
In particular, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, known as MRSA is a drug-resistant bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections in humans.
So what’s a hospital to do?
Call in the robots. A San Antonio-based company called Xenex Disinfection Services has created a germ zapping robot.
And the University Health System in San Antonio plans to install three of the $125,000 devices and use them in patient rooms, critical care areas and operating rooms throughout University Hospital. It also plans to put one in the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at the Robert B. Green Campus downtown, where patients are particularly vulnerable to infections.
Xenex’s robots are being used in more than 200 hospitals and health facilities nationwide including UCLA, Boston Children’s Hospital and UT MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“The Xenex room disinfection system uses a powerful, pulsed-xenon ultraviolet light to kill all sorts of infectious organisms,” according to a news release. “One study showed the treatment was 20 times more effective than scrubbing with traditional chemical cleansers.”
Typically, the device is rolled into a room after housekeeping staff finishes a thorough cleaning and sanitizing. The operator then programs the machine and clears the room. Up pops the saucer-shaped light source, and for five to 10 minutes the room is bathed in powerful pulses of UV light — 25,000 times more powerful than sunlight, and capable of killing such infectious threats as Clostridium difficile, norovirus and MRSA.
Two John Hopkins-trained epidemiologists developed the technology. In 2008, Morris Miller, an early investor in Rackspace, invested in the company, now called Xenex Disinfection Services. He also became its CEO and moved its headquarters and manufacturing operations from Austin to San Antonio.