Twin Cities hospital purchases robots to rid rooms of germs, bacteria

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A hospital in the Twin Cities is becoming the first in the state to put robots to work to eliminate hard-to-kill germs and viruses in patients' rooms, KSTP-TV reports.

Fairview Southdale in Edina has purchased three Xenex robots at about $80,000 each. The robots, which are used in about 100 hospitals nationwide, have reduced "healthcare associated infections" by about 50 to 90 percent in some cases, the Centers for Disease Control says.

Some of those infections are extremely dangerous, including MRSA, staph bacteria and Clostridium difficile -- also known as C. diff and C. difficile.

A registered nurse and infection specialist tells WCCO-TV that the robots uses ultraviolet light to clean every surface in a room, effectively cleaning areas that humans and disinfectants can't.

The ultraviolet-light -- which is 25,000 times more powerful than the sun -- not only destroys harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi on the surfaces, it also takes them out of the air, the station says. Rooms are cleaned in about 10 minutes time.

According to the CDC, one out of 20 patients contracts healthcare associated infection per year and those infections kill 23,000 Americans.

U.S. hospitals reportedly spend an estimated $35 billion to treat hospital-acquired illnesses per year.

Fairview will start using the Xenex robots starting Oct. 9. In addition to patients' rooms, the units will also be used to clean operating rooms and staff locker rooms.

Patients can find out how hospitals in the state compare in quality online at MinnesotaHospitalQuality.org.

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