Germ-fighting robots are in action at the Muskogee VA Medical Center. Employees said the machines have cut infection rates in half.
Hand sanitizer is just the frontline for protecting patients from pathogens. Now, killing dangerous germs is getting high-tech.
A UV light flashes and the robot pulses out xenon gas, zapping germs from patient rooms.
"I look at those small pathogens that only you can see microscopically," said Cheryl Robbins.
Robbins at the Jack C. Montgomery Muskogee VA Medical Center fights infection rates, and the machines are her secret weapon.
"It's just an extra step in the disinfecting of your room," she said.
The hospital's infection rate has been cut in half, since paying $625,000 for five robots in October. That means fewer patients are leaving with common, but deadly pathogens, like MRSA, C.diff or VRE.
"It can lead to fatality, okay, and that's something that we don't want," said Robbins.
Leon Langguth oversees the machines' movements. He makes sure housekeeping cleans rooms, then, rallies the robots to disinfect in just 15 minutes.
"New approach to how we clean or provide a better environment to our veterans," Langguth said.
Every other Friday the machine does a download, reporting which rooms it worked and whether it needs maintenance.
Only ten VA medical centers have these machines and Muskogee feels pretty lucky.
Langguth and Robbins said both the UV light and xenon gas that's emitted is not dangerous.
The medical center is getting calls from several private Oklahoma hospitals also interested in getting some of the robots.