Erlanger Unveils Germ-Fighting Robots

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Erlanger Health System officials said Wednesday they have taken a giant leap into the future with the addition of a germ-fighting robot that uses ultraviolet light to zap harmful bacteria from equipment and areas throughout the hospital.

Resembling R2D2 from Star Wars, the Xenex robot uses pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV-C) light that is 25,000 times more powerful than sunlight to destroy harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even bacterial spores. Studies show that the Xenex room disinfection system is consistently 20 times more effective than standard chemical cleaning practices and effective against a variety of the most dangerous superbugs, including Clostridium difficile endospores (C. diff), norovirus, influenza, and staph bacteria like methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.

In just five to 10 minutes, the device can disinfect a patient room, patient bathroom or operating room (OR) by pulsing ultraviolet light, which washes over the surfaces where germs reside without leaving a chemical residue. To disinfect a room after standard cleaning procedures are complete, hospital team members wheel the Xenex robot into the room, begin the automated sequence, and then leave the room. For enhanced safety, a sign placed outside the door warns people not to enter, and a motion sensor automatically shuts off the machine if someone should enter.

Erlanger is the first hospital in Chattanooga and the second hospital in Tennessee to use the Xenex robot. “We already have a strong infection prevention program. The Xenex technology allows us to be even more proactive in protecting the health of our patients and staff,” said Coretha Weaver, Erlanger infection prevention coordinator. “This technology is used in high risk areas, including operating rooms and patient rooms, in conjunction with the extensive cleaning services already provided by our environmental services team.”

“Our team members are very excited to be using this kind of advanced technology in their daily work,” said Steve Wheeler with Erlanger’s Environmental Services. “The environmental services team feels very empowered because they can clearly see that they’re saving lives by preventing infections.”

“Patient safety is always our number one priority,” said Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, Erlanger President and CEO. “Erlanger has long been recognized as the region’s leader in medical technology and highly specialized care, so it’s only fitting that we should employ the same level of technological innovation when it comes to preventing infections. One hospital-acquired infection is one too many, so we are excited to begin using the Xenex system to help us achieve our goal of zero infections.”


Alex Sheen To Speak Jan. 15

Alex Sheen will speak at a luncheon to benefit Blood Assurance at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 15 at the Double Tree Hotel in Downtown Chattanooga.  Alex is the founder of because I said I would, a social movement and nonprofit organization.  Through his philanthropic work, his personal commitments and the stories of his supporters, Alex speaks to audiences around the world ... (click for more)

Supreme Court Decides Hospitals Cannot Maintain Liens After Bills Paid In Full

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court has decided that hospitals are required to release their hospital lien against a patient as soon as the patient and the patient’s insurance company have paid the full amount of the hospital charges. This lawsuit involves a common practice in the hospital industry. Hospitals charge uninsured patients more for the same services ... (click for more)

2 Suspects Sought In Armed Robbery At Highway 153 Long John Silver's

Police are searching for two suspects in an armed robbery that happened Friday morning. At approximately  8:10  a.m. the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 5317 Highway 153 for a robbery at the Long John Silver's.  Officers discovered that two black men, wearing hoodies and masks, entered the Long John Silver's and forced the assistant manager ... (click for more)

Pair Charged With Beating Man With Stick, Taking His Wallet

Two men are charged with beating a man with a large stick while he slept on the steps of a downtown church, then taking his wallet. Jerry Quincy Allen, 45, and James Leo Boas, 40, both of 727 E. 11th St., are charged with aggravated robbery. In the incident on Wednesday, Bradley Casehart said he and a friend were asleep at Tompkin Chapel Church on Palmetto Street. He ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Manger Scene Stays!

When the Freedom From Religion Foundation struck the tiny town of Jay, Fla., earlier this month, the town mayor had a life-sized Nativity scene that had been displayed every Christmas for the past 40 years taken down and sold as “city surplus.” But in Alabama, things are different. When the foundation tried the same thing in Rainbow City, Ala., more people than all those who live ... (click for more)