Hunterdon Medical Center Deploys Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot to Enhance Patient Safety by Destroying Superbugs that Can Cause Infections

As hospitals around the world look for new and innovative ways to battle deadly pathogens and kill multi-drug resistant organisms that can cause Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI), Hunterdon Medical Center has taken a leap into the future with the installation of a LightStrike™ Germ-Zapping Robot™ that destroys hard-to-kill bugs in hard-to-clean places.

The Xenex robot uses Full Spectrum™ pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) light to quickly destroy bacteria, viruses, fungi and bacterial spores. The portable disinfection system is effective against even the most dangerous pathogens, includingClostridium difficile (C. diff), norovirus, influenza, Ebola and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.

“We want to do everything within our means to provide a clean environment at our facilities to reduce the risk of healthcare associated infections. Some superbugs have become resistant to cleaning chemicals and we don’t have antibiotics to treat the infections they cause. That’s why new technology like the LightStrike disinfecting robot is so important,” said Lisa Rasimowicz, MSN, RN, CIC, Director of Infection Prevention, Hunterdon Medical Center. “This investment is important and underscores our commitment to patient care and the communities we serve.”

UV has been used for disinfection for decades. The Xenex LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot is a new technology that utilizes pulsed xenon (not mercury bulbs) to create germicidal UV light. Pulsed xenon emits high intensity UVC light which penetrates the cell walls of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, mold, fungus and spores. Their DNA is fused, rendering them unable to reproduce or mutate, effectively killing them on surfaces.

The portable Xenex system can disinfect a typical patient or procedure room in four or five minute cycles (depending on the robot model) without warm-up or cool-down times. Operated by the hospital cleaning staff, it will be used in the Intensive Care Unit and Operating Room.

“Since implementing the UV robot in our Intensive Care Unit at Hunterdon Medical Center during the end of June, we were able to achieve zero healthcare acquired C.difficile infections in July and September,” stated Ms. Rasimowicz.

The Xenex pulsed xenon UV disinfection system has been credited by numerous health care facilities across the U.S. for helping them reduce their infection rates significantly. Several hospitals have published their C.diff, MRSA and Surgical Site infection rate reduction studies in peer-reviewed journals – showing infection rate reductions in excess of 70 percent.More than 400 hospitals, Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense facilities in the U.S., Canada, Africa, UK, Japan and Europe are using Xenex robots, which are also in use in skilled nursing facilities, ambulatory surgery centers and long term acute care facilities.

Hunterdon Healthcare held a contest to name the robot in June during their annual employee picnic.  The name selected was M.A.R.I.T.A, named after long time employee, Marita Nash, former Director of Environmental Service.  The name M.A.R.I.T.A is also an acronym for Mobile – Antimicrobial – Robotic – Infection – Treatment – Aid.   To learn more about Hunterdon Healthcare, visit www.hunterdonhealthcare.org.

Hunterdon Medical Center staff gather around their newest team member: M.A.R.I.T.A., the germ zapping robot.  Pictured left to right: Lisa Rasimowiz, MSN, RN, CIC, Director of Infection Prevention, Hunterdon Medical Center, Harkanwal Sandhu, Lead Operating Room, Environmental Service Worker, Patricia Steingall, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Vice President of Patient Care Service and Chief Nursing Officer, Marie Davis, Lead Environmental Service Worker, Bill Farrell, Assistant Director, Environmental Services, Elizabeth Arnold, MSN, RN, Infection Preventionist and Jose Diaz, Director, Environmental Services.