Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
New Robots Zapping Germs at JCMVAMC
The Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center (JCMVAMC) has a new cutting edge tool to battle deadly pathogens and kill multi-drug resistant organisms that put patients at risk, the Xenex disinfection system.
JCMVAMC began using five Xenex robots in October throughout the hospital, which is 20 times more effective than standard chemical cleaning practices.
The Xenex system works by pulsing xenon, an inert gas, twice a second at high intensity in an ultraviolet flashlamp. This produces germicidal ultraviolet C (UVC) and is effective against even the most dangerous pathogens, including Clostridium difficile (C. diff), norovirus, influenza and staph bacteria, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.
JCMVAMC is the first hospital in Eastern Oklahoma to use the Xenex system, which was launched in June 2010 and has been credited for helping other healthcare facilities in the U.S. decrease their MRSA and C.diff infection rates.
Cheryl Robbins, JCMVAMC Multi Drug-Resistant Organisms Prevention Coordinator, said the primary goal of the Xenex systems is to increase patient safety by reducing health care associated infections, which are not only dangerous to a patient but also lengthen the patient’s stay and cost an average of $20,000 to $30,000 to treat.
“With these machines, we’re hoping to decrease the possibility of those incidences happening,” said Robbins. “So we’re trying to save money, decrease the length of stay as well as keep our patients safe and that’s the first thing, to keep our patients safe from any type of infection or colonization.”
The Xenex robots supplement traditional cleaning methods by Environment Management Service (EMS) staff. After patient care areas are cleaned, EMS staff wheel the Xenex robot into the room, position it beside the patient bed, begin the automated sequence and then leave the room.
The staff then places a sign outside the room, which warns people not to enter while the robot is in operation. A motion sensor on the robot automatically shuts off the machine if anyone should enter. The process is then repeated on the other side of the bed and in the bathroom, for a total of 5-10 minutes to thoroughly clean each room.
“Every room we clean, we also run a machine in it,” said Ted Brown, a housekeeping aide who operates the Xenex system. “It’s real easy to use. They kill all the germs. I think they’ve made a big difference already.”