Germ Zapping Robots

Hospitals across the nation are challenged with maintaining a bacteria free environment for patients. Now at one hospital in New Jersey, a robot named Jimmy is making sanitization easier.

TRANSCRIPT

Hospitals across the nation are challenged with maintaining a bacteria-free environment for patients.

Now in one hospital in New Jersey, a robot named Jimi is making sanitization easier.

Reporter Leah Mishskin has the story.

Two buttons are pushed.

You have 15 to 30 seconds to leave the room.

Then the Xenex robot, temporarily named Jimi, begins a treatment cycle.

The company behind Jimi and the LightStrike technology says it's using pulsed xenon to create this UVC light.

Unlike UVA and UVB, known for damaging skin, UVC is mostly absorbed by the ozone layer and doesn't reach Earth.

Xenex says superbugs, germs and bacteria have no resistance to it, and they die in 5 minutes or less.

People have to actually leave the room.

Why is that?

Yeah.

It's actually... It will not harm people.

It will not penetrate your skin.

If you're in the room, though, the light is, as we mentioned, super intense, super bright, and so if you stare at it for a long time, it could irritate your eyes.

According to a National Institute of Health study, long-term exposure to UVC could be harmful by causing acute and chronic eye and skin damage.

This robot has motion sensors and won't even turn on if it detects people.

Hunterdon Medical Center's Lisa Rasimowicz says her role is to prevent the spread of infections.

If you go to a hospital, you might even get more sick just because of what you're exposed to.

Yeah.

The think about hospitals is that there are sick patients here, so it is possible that as you're sick, as your immune system is weak, if you do get exposed to somebody else's germs, that potentially you could pick up another infection, but we in the health care field have been working on this forever.

Enter Jimi, the hospital's second robot.

They bought it after seeing a drop in hospital-acquired infections.

So when you're saying you're seeing a drastic difference, what are we talking?

So we've already seen... In the short time that we've been using the robot in ICU, we've already seen at least a 55 percent decrease in our cases.

We also have had zero MRSA infections in our ICU patients.

We've had zero central-line bloodstream infections in our ICU patients, so we're really achieving.

We're seeing the goal that we set for ourselves.

It costs about $125,000, but the company says by preventing just a couple of infections, it pays for itself.

And do you think this technology could be used in other places, not just in hospitals?

Yeah.

We're looking at application in college, in professional sports programs.

We're looking at airports.

We're looking at everything.

Technology helping to prevent the spread of what is left behind.