Let’s start with the premise that robots are cool. Autonomous cars, drones, BB-8, that machine that mixes drinks on cruises – there seems to be no limit to what technology can do to benefit the world. And while there are considerable (and justifiable) concerns over issues like liability and artificial intelligence, new tech has done much to help the medical field, and to improve patient safety.
Perhaps nowhere is this more obvious than at Christ Hospital in the greater Cincinnati area, where there are five Xenex LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots being used to “zap” dangerous, infectious pathogens that can lead to hospital-acquired infections, or HAIs.
Christ Hospital is not the only one using this type of technology; UC Health has also used robots to clean and sanitize rooms. However, as Cincinnati.com explains:
“UC Health has been using UV blasters as a tool against infections; yet the UC Medical Center was among the four area hospitals penalized for their infection rates. Christ Hospital says the older technology uses mercury bulbs to create the light, while the Xenex LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot uses pulsed xenon, which emits a light intense enough to penetrate cell walls and fuse the DNA of microorganisms. The fusing renders the microorganisms unable to reproduce or mutate, killing them on surfaces without contact or chemicals.”
Putting an end to HAIs at Ohio hospitals
Hospital-acquired infections are a serious problem in Ohio hospitals – indeed, in hospitals throughout the country. To combat the problem, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rolled out the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program in October of 2014. In short, CMS started reducing payments to worst-ranking hospitals in terms of preventing and/or reducing the number of HAIs they have. Scores are based on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Patient Safety Indicator (PSI) measure (90 composite required), as well as measures taken to prevent and reduce the number of the following infections:
- Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI)
- Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI)
- Surgical Site Infection (SSI) – colon and hysterectomy
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia
- Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI)
If you’re interested in how these scores are assigned, this easy-to-read fact sheet may help.
Hospital-acquired infections can be life-threatening, so Christ Hospital’s new xenon-based robots are a definite step in the right direction to reduce, and hopefully one day eliminate, the pathogens which harm so many. We must be careful, though, to remember that even high tech gadgets can fail or falter, and that hospitals should be held accountable when good tech goes bad, and people suffer as a result.
At Crandall & Pera Law, we help victims of medical malpractice in Ohio and Kentucky secure a better future. We have the experience you want on your side when you make a claim for compensation against a hospital. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a free consultation with a skilled medical malpractice attorney in Ohio or Kentucky, we invite you to fill out this contact form, or to call our offices: 877.686.8879 (Ohio) and 877.651.7764 (Kentucky).