robot used to disinfect hospital rooms with EVS technician

Thursday, July 16, 2020

A team of six robots is on a mission to keep patients and healthcare workers safe at Norman Regional Health System. These XENEX Lightstrike™ Germ-Zapping Robots disinfect surfaces and have been proven to kill SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19. The robot uses a pulsed xenon lamp to create intense germicidal ultraviolet light that quickly kills the germs that cause serious infections such as coronavirus, influenza, C. difficile, MRSA and more.

The health system has used the robots since 2016, said Clyde Brawner, Director of Environmental Services. When the coronavirus pandemic began, hospital staff moved quickly to expand the use of the robots, Brawner said.

More than 100 additional employees were trained to operate the robots. The robots are now used to clean every room that contains a patient who was on isolation precautions and every room in which a patient with COVID-19 was treated.

A robot has also been staged in the Emergency Departments to quickly respond and disinfect that key area of the hospital. The robots are also utilized in other areas such as imaging and physician clinics.

“The robots have been well-received by clinicians, nurses and physicians,” Brawner said.

How the Robots Work

Before the robot begins its work, an environmental services technician cleans the room. Norman Regional uses chemicals that are approved by the American Hospital Association and registered by the Environmental Protection Agency. After this process is complete, the technician brings the robot into the room and programs it based on the room size then leaves the room, making sure to close all windows and doors.

Then the robot goes to work. A lamp lifts from the top of the robot and sends a pulsating light that disinfects all surfaces the light touches. Timing depends on the size of the room, but the disinfection process takes about 15 to 25 minutes.

Additional Testing Done

The Norman Regional cleaning team then takes an additional step to ensure its rooms are disinfected. The team uses ATP testing in all patient rooms and its dedicated COVID units. This test rapidly measures growing microorganisms through the detection of adenosine triphosphate or ATP. This test is performed after the cleaning and disinfecting of rooms.

Norman Regional also began ATP testing its clinics and other areas outside the hospital during the pandemic.

Keeping the Hospital Safe and Clean

Norman Regional is committed to keeping all facilities clean for the safety of patients at all times. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new needs.

To respond to the pandemic the Environmental Services team has implemented the following enhancements.

  • Dedicated cleaning supplies and equipment for the COVID-19 units
  • An updated infectious disease cleaning checklist for any infectious disease such as COVID-19
  • Expanded the amount of hand hygiene products

Norman Regional is thankful for the many hand hygiene products that were donated during the early days of the pandemic when hand sanitizer was in limited supply.