News 12 met the newest and brightest member of Erlanger's healthcare team...
A Xenex Robot.
The germ-zapping robot can kill harmful bacteria in just five minutes. It uses a pulsed ultraviolet light. Erlanger will fight infections like MRSA with the new robot. Kevin Spiegle, Erlanger President and CEO said, "We're committed to expand this throughout the whole entire hospital including our procedure rooms."
Erlanger is the first hospital in Chattanooga to step into the future and use this robot. Rachael Sparks, Xenon Technical Director said, "It's the first technology of it's kind using pulse xenon UV light to disrupt the DNA and RNA of bacteria and viruses. It's producing a very, very intense UV light through pulsing a xenon bulb." The light is 25-thousand times more powerful than sunlight, and is 20 times more effective in cleaning. Sparks said, "And that is able to cause a fusion of the DNA of those bacteria and viruses killing them, preventing them from replicating and making the room safer for the next patient." Trained hospital team members wheel the robot into a room, begin the automated process, and let the robot do the rest. Sparks said, "Some of our hospitals have seen upwards of fifty percent reduction in C. DIFF infections and MRSA infections facility-wide which means you've saved lives." Steve Wheeler, Director of EVS said, "Even the most thorough cleaning gives you the opportunity to miss a little bit, so with the technology added on to that, that just gives us more in our cleaning abilities throughout the hospital."
While this technology is expensive, the machine will save 2.3 million dollars from reduced cost of infections. Sparks said, "Really the cost of one C. DIFF infection is sometimes upwards of 35-thousand dollars to treat, so really if you prevent one infection per year with this device it's paid for itself." Erlanger already uses the robots in the NICU and plan to use them in the operating rooms as well. This makes Erlanger the second hospital in the state of Tennessee to use the Xenex Robots.