Ochsner robots prove effective in fighting infections

Don Ames
January 12, 2018 - 9:40 am

Germ-zapping robots deployed last year at Ochsner Medical Center have proven themselves as effective tools in the fight against healthcare-associated infections.

The mechanical, high-tech crew has been yielding substantial results, significantly reducing hospital-related infections. 

Recognizing the growing threat of antibiotic resistance and superbugs, ten of the robots were put into use last August at Ochsner's main campus on Jefferson Highway. And, Dr. Sandy Kemmerly, Infectious Disease Specialist at Ochsner, says the results have been striking.

"In the first 90 days, we've had a 49 percent reduction of our hospital-acquired infections in the units that we have placed the robots on," says Kemmerly.

She says the robots' high-intensity ultraviolet light destroys infectious germs, deadly pathogens and multi-drug resistant organisms that can escape normal hospital cleaning procedures. 

"These organisms tend to be a little bit more difficult to totally disinfect out of an environment." 

"Especially Clostridium difficile (C.diff), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are very prevalent in the southeastern part of the United States. They lurk in nooks and crannies in hospitals. And, unfortunately in our area, we have a high incidence of theses organisms." 

"All hospitals still have these organisms in their environment," Kemmerly says. The robots have helped us reduce the number of organisms almost by half."

And, they can totally disinfect a room in less than five minutes. 

The devices are used in addition to the routine cleaning procedures that currently take place as an extra level of protection against infection.

"Patient safety has always been our top priority," says Kemmerly. "We are continuously evaluating opportunities to improve our efforts and implement best practices, and we wanted to take an evidence-based approach to pulsed xenon UV room disinfection."

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