Germ-killing Robots

Germ-Killing Robot Puts UV Light to Work

Two germ-killing robots are now helping disinfect patient rooms at NorthBay Medical Center and NorthBay VacaValley Hospital. Called Tru-D, a catchy nickname for “Total Room Ultraviolet Disinfection,” the 5-foot, 5-inch tall robots use ultraviolet (UV) light to eliminate harmful pathogens.

Tru-D doesn’t replace the staff that cleans hospital rooms between patients, said Mercille Locke, R.N., infection prevention manager. Rather it is an enhancement tool used in rooms following final cleaning whenever a discharged patient was treated for a drug-resistant bug. Tru-D is also used nightly to disinfect the surgical suites.

The robot is placed in a clean patient room and the door closed. Using a remote control, Tru-D is turned on and automatically self-adjusts to the size and contents of the room to deliver the proper dose of UV light.

UV light is a form of light that is invisible to the human eye. It exists on the electromagnetic spectrum between X-rays and visible light. UVC wavelengths, the strongest UV rays, are germicidal—meaning they are capable of inactivating microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa. This quality makes UVC energy an effective, environmentally friendly and chemical-free way to eradicate dangerous microorganisms in any environment, but especially within hospitals.

Tru-D has been clinically validated to eliminate up to 99.9 percent of drug-resistant super bugs, including C. diff (Clostridium difficile), MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci) in one single cycle.

A cycle depends on room size and averages 25 minutes. A randomized clinical trial funded by the Centers for Disease Control found that the Tru-D robot could reduce hospital-acquired infections by a cumulative 30 percent.

NorthBay Medical Center has not been using the robot long enough to validate those findings, but early reports are promising, Mercille explained.

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