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Rush Hospital uses robots to kill germs

You may see something like this the next time you visit Rush Hospital.

“Patient safety is important to us. Fighting infection is important to us, and this is another way to do that,” said Jayson Payne, hospital administrator at Rush.

Referred to as Zack, the robot is the hospital’s newest worker. It’s job description? Zapping icky germs that may linger in patient’s rooms.

Rush is currently the only hospital in this region of the state that is using this equipment. It goes into a room and removes all the superbugs, germs, and bacteria that could pose a risk to a patient in that room.

“What makes this robot special is its xenon bulb. As the head comes up, it exposes the bulb, this bulb will bathe the room in light, and this light will destroy the germs in four different ways. They can’t reproduce, they can’t mutate, and they can’t pose a risk to the next patient in that room,” said

Melinda Hart, a spokesperson for Xenex, who manufactures the robot.

Rush paid $250,000 total for Zack and his companion, Rosie. After a patient’s room is cleaned by hospital cleaning staff, Rush says either Zack or Rosie then go in and get to work.

“Hospitals are high traffic areas and infection-prevention is key. Using the Xenex robot, we eliminate the germs that could be lingering on services that could result in some sort of infection during their stay or after their surgery,” said Payne.

Effective against even the most dangerous pathogens, including influenza and Ebola, the robot can disinfect a typical patient room in four or five-minute cycles.

“Studies show that less than half the surfaces in a room are properly disinfected in between patients. So, would you want a loved one to go to hospital knowing that the person before you had a super bug? What Rush is doing is enhancing the safety of its patients by destroying those pathogens before they can pose a risk,” said Hart.


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