Robotic Cleaners at Geisinger

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Maybe you've heard of a new so-called "super bug" on the rise at US hospitals.   It's called CRE, and it's a bacteria resistant to antibiotics, making it nearly untreatable.  It is just one example of why a hospital system needs to disinfect completely as possible.  And it's one of the reasons Geisinger just invested in machines that look a little like something out of Star Wars.

We found a room at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre that had already been manually cleaned and disinfected.  But it was about to get the Xenex treatment.  The trash-can sized machine was first wheeled into place.

"It's a pulsing ultraviolet light, which we know is used to disinfect and kill micro-organisms.  We've known that for a long time. But this is technology that has come out in the last few years," said Tami Almquist, Senior Director of Environmental Services at Geisinger Health Systems.

This germ-busting machine can disinfect an entire room in just 10 minutes, killing germs on every surface the light touches.  It won't penetrate glass, so once the door is closed, the rays are contained.  The Xenex machines aren't meant to replace existing cleaning solutions, but to give certain areas of the hospital an extra layer of disinfecting.

"We have worked very closely with infection control to establish a priority plan for usage in their machine- all of the isolation rooms and other uses as deemed by infection control," Almquist told us.

There are now five Xenex machines for use in the various hospitals of GHS.