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Clean team gets an assist, and R2D2 would be proud

PHOTO COURTESY OF POCONO MEDICAL CENTER The Tru-D SmartUVC room disinfection unit on the job at Pocono Medical Center.

It may be technology’s answer to Mr. Clean.

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.

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