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Mon, May 17, 2021 at 05:00 PM

Robots disinfecting throughout Marshall North and South hospitals

Thor is not only a super hero, but also a super cleaner!

Marshall Medical Centers now has a couple of robots on the payroll to put a high-tech spit and shine on operating rooms.
Known throughout the hospitals as “Thor,” the disinfection robots at Marshall North and Marshall South kill germs and viruses with powerful UVC light. They are able to destroy 99.99999% of germs in the air and on surfaces.
“Cleaning is one thing, but disinfecting is something else,” said Chief Nursing Officer Kathy Woodruff.
The robots use unique room-mapping technology to deliver fast and effective germ-attacking doses of UVC to destroy harmful germs and bacteria. They rapidly scour from floor to ceiling guaranteeing that surgery and patient rooms are as clean as they possibly can be. The top moves up and down to allow the robot to scrub all areas in the room.
“It’s good to have that extra step so that we can ensure everything is disinfected and ready for the next patient to come through, and it’s very good for our staff so they can feel safe in the rooms after they’ve been cleaned and disinfected,” she said.
Unique room-mapping technology allows robots to size up an area and report how long it will take to disinfect.
“The machine is very smart and it knows by scanning the room how much time is needed to do a full disinfection of that room,” explained Marshall South Surgical Services Director Jonathan Smith. “We can adjust that if we just want to do a small part of the room or if we want to do the entire room, so it can be as quick as five or 10 minutes or it could be about an hour for an operating room.”
Rooms are closed off while robots do their cleaning. Slim lines mean they can work almost anywhere.
“The footprint is about the same size as a wheelchair,” he said. “Wherever a wheelchair can go, this can go, whether it be the back of an ambulance or operating room.”
The robots can be used multiple times a day to clean hospital areas and at the end of each day for ORs.
The technology does not replace any cleaning done by hospital staff. Instead, it provides an additional layer of protection. Hospitals have suffered staffing issues because of COVID-19 so the robots will alleviate some of the strain.
"It was a struggle some days, but we're excited about this as an opportunity to prevent something like that in the future," said Woodruff.
Sherry Jones, director of surgical services at North, said she is very excited to have this technology available in local hospitals. It will help in the fight against infection and aid in decontamination.
“The staff cleaning our surgery department is excellent, and this gives them security that nothing has been missed,” she said. “It is very mobile and easy to use. It gives confidence to staff for their wellbeing as well as future patients. “
The $50,000 machines were bought using CARES Act funding.
"Our patients and staff need to know that we are doing everything possible to keep them safe from germs and viruses," Smith said