Why some hospitals are deploying giant 'Roombas' in fight against HAIs

Hospitals reported a significant decrease in seven types of healthcare-associated infections in 2016, according to the CDC's 2016 Healthcare-Associated Infection Progress Report; however, 99,000 Americans still die each year from HAIs.

Some companies are aiming to limit HAIs by automating how hospital rooms are disinfected, according to The Observer.

Here are four things to know:

1. One company, Denmark-based Blue Ocean Robotics, developed its UV Robot alongside Danish healthcare authorities. The giant "Roomba"-like robot vacuum is mobile and uses a UVC light disinfection system to kill pathogens.

2. Blue Ocean Robotics CEO Per Juul Nielsen told The Observer while the robot is not available in North America, executives are mulling a market entry in 2019. The UV Robot is currently used in hospitals in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

3. Another company, Tru-D Smart UVC in Memphis, Tenn., produces a disinfection robot called Tru-D that uses ultraviolet light to kill infectious microbes in operating rooms. After completing clinical trials at Durham, N.C.-based Duke University Hospital, Tru-D is being used in 300-plus U.S. hospitals.

4. The company's CEO Chuck Dunn told The Observer the robot is not a magic bullet: "Tru-D very significantly reduces the germs and pathogens in any given room, but if doctors and nurses forget to wash their hands, it's all for naught. Health professionals, at the end of the day, are human beings, and not prone to replicating perfectly performed, each and every time, standard disinfection processes. Human error is a major factor in manual room disinfection — which is why HAIs have proven to be such a major challenge for hospital administrators."

Access the full article from The Observer here.

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WHO steps up Ebola response in Congo: 4 things to know

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