Local healthcare center unveils disinfection robot

Mayo Clinic Health system has two machines that can disinfect any room

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – With all of the concerns about viruses and antibiotic resistant germs, Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse is letting its patients know they are adding a new layer of cleaning patient areas by using a disinfecting robot.

For more than a year, the center has been testing two units.

During that time the center has done more than 57-hundred tests.

Now the robots are ready to be used in their full capacity.

“It’s 99.9 (percent) effective,” Mayo Clinic Health System environmental services director Dan Bagniewski said.

The machine can disinfect any room throughout Mayo Clinic Health System.

“We use it in surgical suites,” Bagniewski said. “We use it in OR’s, cath labs, exam rooms, procedure rooms. We use it everywhere.”

That accounts to hundreds of rooms.

“We have 230 rooms that we try to hit at least once monthly,” Bagniewski said. “Sometimes, the same room will get hit three or four times in one month.”

The unit’s powerful ultraviolet light helps kill germs the cleaning staff may have missed.

“With the UVC light, it breaks down that pathogen/DNA strand, so it doesn’t reproduce,” environmental services lead Jasan Xiong said. “So a pathogen could be living on a surface for months even after we clean it.”

Nobody can enter the room when the machine is on because it creates a lot of heat and will automatically turn off.

“It doesn’t take long to get a burn,” Bagniewski said.

Safety for the patients is the number one priority for the center.

“Patients are number one,” Bagniewski said. “We’re here for the patients. All of my environmental services staff are saving lives daily and its cleaning that process.”

Mayo primarily sets the robot to disinfect each room as if it has a long lasting germ like C. diff, which causes diarrhea and can be deadly.

When the unit runs its cycle to kill the germs, it takes 25-30 minutes more than a normal cycle.

C. diff can last on a surface for 30 days or more.

Gundersen Health System also has disinfection units that are used in all of its rooms.

The organization uses six machines in La Crosse.