Pocono Medical Center Adds Tru-D Robot to EVS Team
The following recently appeared in Lehigh Valley Business:
It may be technology’s answer to Mr. Clean.
Pocono Medical Center’s purchase of a robotic disinfection device is part of its quest to dramatically lower the risk of hospital-acquired infections as part of a “Zero Campaign” launched in March.
“A growing problem across the country is hospital-acquired infections,” said Dr. William Cors, vice president and chief medical officer at Pocono. “We want to get to the point of totally eliminating hospital infections.”
The Center for Disease Control said one in 25 patients has at least one health care-related infection during a hospital stay. Across the U.S., roughly $30.5 billion is spent on hospital related infections each year, the CDC said.
Pocono bought a Tru-D SmartUVC room disinfection unit in March and could buy more after assessing the robot’s performance. The cost of a Tru-D unit is about $100,000, said Christin Yates, spokeswoman for Tru-D SmartUVC in Memphis, Tenn.
Pocono is using Tru-D in operating rooms and high risk patient areas, where bacterial infections such as C. difficile could be passed along to other patients with costly and potentially deadly consequences.
Lehigh Valley Health Network and at least seven other health care networks or hospitals in Pennsylvania also are using the devices.
According to Cors, it costs about $15,000 to treat one patient who has succumbed to a hospital-acquired infection.
Reducing those costs would translate to long-term treatment savings, along with higher performance ratings from insurance companies.
Cors said reducing the risk of bacterial and other infections dovetailed with Pocono’s mission to model wise antibiotic stewardship.
“With this additional technology [used] in high risk areas, it offers a much higher level of protection and security” to patients, Cors said.
The robot uses ultraviolet light as part of the final sweep to sanitize areas after human hands have cleaned and disinfected.
“The Tru-D step reduces human error and gets into corners and areas which may not have been reached by human hands,” Cors said.
Antibiotic resistant bacteria have made treating illnesses more complicated in recent years.
As hospital-related infections increase, finding solutions beyond ordering more prescriptions to treat them also has become more important to health care providers, Cors said.
Cors said he hoped Pocono would be able to buy more of them in the future.
“Over time, if we are seeing really good trends [for infection reductions], it would build the case for expanding the units,” said Dr. Susheer Gandotra, medical director of infectious diseases at Pocono Medical Center.
While officials at Pocono are optimistic about results, it is too soon to tell if infections have been significantly reduced as a result of using the robot, Gandotra said.
Donna Iversen, Pocono director of quality and safety, said the manufacturer has played an important role in monitoring the unit’s effectiveness in reducing infections.
“Tru-D has become an informational collaborator,” she said. “We are supplying them with the data, and they translate it for us.”
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