Mercy Is First in Stark County to Use Portable, Germ-zapping Robots to Destroy Microorganisms on Hospital Surfaces - Mercy Medical Center

Mercy Is First in Stark County to Use Portable, Germ-zapping Robots to Destroy Microorganisms on Hospital Surfaces

Posted on: April 26, 2018

Xenex LightStrike™ Germ-Zapping Robot™ effective against even most dangerous pathogens

Mercy recently became the first and only health-care facility in Stark County to disinfect hospital surfaces using robots that safely emit germicidal ultraviolet (UVC) rays more intense than sunlight to destroy microorganisms, even in shadowed areas. The hospital now uses two Xenex LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robots primarily in the intensive care unit (ICU), 5 Main, operating rooms, cardiac surgery, and cardiac catheterization labs.

This cutting-edge technology features Full Spectrum™ pulsed xenon UVC light (not mercury bulbs) to penetrate the cell wall of microorganisms, quickly destroying bacteria, viruses, fungi, and bacterial spores without chemical residue or fumes. This portable disinfection system is effective against even the most dangerous pathogens, including:
• Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which can live on surfaces for four to six months and is particularly hard to remove
• Norovirus
• Influenza
• Ebola
• Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

The hospital also purchased the LightStrike Disinfection Pod, a portable disinfection containment unit that can rapidly disinfect high-touch mobile equipment like wheelchairs, computer workstations, and IV poles.

Barbara Yingling, RN, BSN, MAed, vice president and chief nursing officer says safety of patients, families, staff, and employees was a major factor in the decision to purchase the germ-zapping robots.

“Hospital-acquired and surgical site infections are devastating and costly,” says Yingling. “Given the fact some superbugs can live on surfaces for hours to months and are becoming more resistant to antibiotics, it’s critical we implement the most effective system available to destroy them before they cause harm. The Xenex system is used in hundreds of health-care facilities around the world, and studies show the robots can reduce infection rates by more than 70 percent.”

According to Paul Hiltz, Mercy’s interim CEO, the germ-zapping robots are part of Mercy’s ongoing efforts to take patient safety to even higher levels.

“Over the past two years, Mercy has made many noteworthy achievements in preventing infections, problems with surgery, errors, common safety problems, and more,” Hiltz says. “The Leapfrog Group, a national leader and advocate in hospital transparency, validated our efforts last fall and again this spring, awarding us Canton’s only B in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. While we are proud of that award, we recognize there is always more we can and must do to ensure safety for everyone at Mercy.”

Mercy Service League—a dedicated, diverse group of women who support Mercy’s mission through, among many things, fundraising—is playing a major role in bringing the germ-zapping robots to the hospital. Proceeds from the organization’s 2018 Harvest Ball will benefit this major patient-safety project. Learn more about this year’s Harvest Ball at

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