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Phoenix VA Health Care System

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Phoenix VA deploys germ-zapping robotos to enhance Veteran safety

September 15, 2016

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Phoenix -- September 15, 2016 -- The Phoenix Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System is the first hospital in Arizona to deploy Xenex LightStrikeTM Germ-Zapping RobotsTM to destroy deadly germs and bacteria lurking on hospital surfaces that can cause hospital acquired infections (HAI).  The portable room disinfection system utilizes pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) light and is effective against even the most dangerous superbugs and multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO), including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile (C. diff), VRE, norovirus and influenza.  Additionally, the Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot has been proven effective against both the Ebola virus and Anthrax, and can easily be incorporated into a facility's disease containment and biodefense strategy. 

Pulsed xenon UV disinfection is an environmentally-friendly technology and exceeds both Presidential Executive Orders and VA Directives regarding sustainability and green procurement.  Prior to implementing Xenex, the Phoenix VA used a mercury UV disinfection system.  

To date, 20 peer-reviewed studies showing the effectiveness of pulsed xenon UV in reducing pathogens from the environment have been published, including eight studies that reported a decrease in patient infection rates when the pulsed xenon UV technology was used.  Five of the environmental studies were accomplished by VA researchers including Dr. Chetan Jinadatha, Chief of Infectious Disease, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, who found manual cleaning plus pulsed xenon UV light disinfection was far more effective than traditional cleaning methods at eliminating MRSA bacteria and was 23 percent faster when integrated into the room cleaning process.  More importantly, numerous healthcare organizations using Xenex LightStrike robots have reported significant reductions in C. diff, MRSA, VRE and Surgical Site Infection (SSI) rates.  This is evidenced in multiple published peer-reviewed outcome studies showing 50-100 percent reductions in HAI rates.

In addition to being the first hospital in Arizona, the Phoenix VA is the first VA facility in the Southwest Health Care Network (VISN 18) to deploy this innovative, leading-edge patient safety technology. The Phoenix VA joins 40 VA facilities and more than 350 hospitals across the nation who have added the Xenex LightStrike robot to their disinfection arsenals. During the implementation, as a tribute to the military, the Phoenix VA named its six robots after the Commander-in-Chief and the five military services: Chief, Army, Marine Corp, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. 

"We want to do everything possible to provide a clean environment and enhance patient safety at our facility to reduce the risk of hospital acquired infections," said Kenneth Carter, Chief of Environmental Management Services, Phoenix VA. "One infection is one too many, so enlisting the help of the Xenex robots will help us achieve our goal of zero infections. This investment in a proven technology is important and underscores our commitment to patient care and the veterans we serve." 

The Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots are an adjunctive step in the hospital's cleaning process. Operated by the hospital's EVS team, they are brought into a room after traditional cleaning has taken place to destroy microscopic germs and bacteria that may be lurking on high touch surfaces, such as bed rails, tray tables, door knobs and remote controls. The portable Xenex system can disinfect a typical patient or procedure room in four or five minute cycles (depending on robot model) without warm-up or cool-down times. It can be used in any department and in any unit within a healthcare facility, including isolation rooms, operating rooms, general patient care rooms, contact precaution areas, emergency rooms, bathrooms and public spaces.