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University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center employs revolutionary disinfection technology to reduce hospital infection risk

Monday, October 21, 2013

New system uses ultraviolet light to break down C. diff, MRSA and other bacteria

GEAUGA COUNTY – The Environmental Services Department at University Hospitals (UH) Geauga Medical Center has a revolutionary new weapon in its arsenal to battle the risk of hospital-acquired infections caused by pathogens like Clostridium difficile (C. diff) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Since late September, the hospital has been employing the Xenex® pulsed xenon UV room disinfection system.

The new system features a pesticidal robot that integrates seamlessly with the hospital’s sterilization operations because of its speed and ease of use. “Xenex is a highly sophisticated disinfection technology that will consistently minimize the risk of hospital-acquired infections throughout our facilities,” says Dave Milligan, Manager, Environmental Services, UH Geauga Medical Center. “For example, after we disinfect an ICU room with bleach as we always have, we roll the Xenex unit in. Within about five minutes, a special pulsing ultraviolet light reduces the microbial contamination in the environment by breaking down the DNA of C. diff and MRSA so that it’s unable to replicate.”

The groundbreaking disinfection system uses a xenon UV lamp – a powerful, non-toxic form of ultraviolet light – that generates high-intensity pulses. The unit uses reflectors and movement to focus the bright, purple light toward "high-touch" surfaces. It also has an on-board database that logs the system’s activity for tracking and analysis. The operator has 15 seconds to exit the room once the unit’s cycle begins. Because the pulsing light is so bright, it’s best to be out of the room while it is operating.

“Our system was custom-designed for UH Geauga Medical Center based on our specific needs,” says Milligan. “The unit looks like a combination of R2-D2 and the robot from Lost in Space. Ours is named Benson. When we take Benson into a room, we open all the cabinets and cupboards and run a five-minute cycle on each side of the bed. That ensures the light reaches every surface in the room.” Including C. diff and MRSA, the system is effective against nearly two dozens pathogens.

As the months progress, UH Geauga Medical Center will generate reports from Benson’s usage log to assess the effectiveness of the new system on the hospital’s infection rates. “Our occurrences of hospital-acquired infection are low to begin with,” says M. Steven Jones, President, UH Geauga Medical Center, “but now with this exciting new sterilization technology, we are aggressively pursuing our goal to be an infection-free facility.”

To learn more about the new pulsed xenon UV room disinfection system being utilized at UH Geauga Medical Center, visit www.xenex.com.

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