Labette Health is using ultraviolet technology to disinfect rooms as another step in its infection prevention protocol.
The hospital in Parsons has purchased and deployed in the last week three Surfacide ultraviolet light-emitting robots that use lasers to measure rooms and objects in them to determine how long they need to run to destroy germs. Two of the machines are at Labette Health, one at Independence Healthcare Center and another device is used at the medical clinic in Cherryvale. UV light destroys the molecular bonds that hold together the DNA of viruses and bacteria, according to the company website. Because of this, the robots can inactivate bacteria regardless of their drug resistance.
Chad Mavers updated hospital trustees on the robots Thursday morning. He said they are rated to destroy COVID-19, C. diff, MRSA, the flu and other germs.
Money the hospital received from Labette County, through the state’s COVID-19 relief program, was used to purchase the three machines for $100,000.
Mavers said the machines spin as they work. Sensors will stop the process if a door is opened. The machine uploads its data to a portal so hospital staff can monitor and track the cleaning process as the machines are moved from room to room.
He said the UV light will not replace the hospital’s housekeeping staff. The machines will be used to get rid of germs that may have been left behind.
Mavers said the timer can be set to clean a room or the machine will decide how long to run after it measures the room and objects in it. On average, the disinfection takes 20 to 28 minutes in Parsons, 20 minutes in Independence and the device in Cherryvale will complete its work in about 15 minutes.
He told trustees that 13 people at Labette Health are trained to operate the robots. Independence has nine trained and Cherryvale six. Medical and business office staff in Independence and Cherryvale have learned to operate it.
“They are just fired up about it,” Mavers said about Cherryvale’s staff. The staff scheduled disinfection of every room in the clinic at least once a week.
“This makes people feel safe that they’re getting that extra bit of clean,” he said.
He also reviewed a three-phase program to introduce the machines to the facilities and the public. Policies and procedures are being developed.
“We’re trying to keep these things moving as much as possible. We don’t want them sitting in a corner. We want them on the floors,” Mavers said.
In about a week, Parsons has run 22 cycles on the machines, Independence 39 and Cherryvale five, he said.
“It’s pretty slow right now. People are nervous about breaking it. They’re not really comfortable with this yet,” Mavers said.
In other matters, trustees approved three contracts. One of them was for Dr. Neil Goodloe, a hospitalist. Goodloe started the hospitalist program at Labette Health and then left for other career opportunities. When he rejoins the staff, the hospital will have three full-time hospitalists on staff, “which is really what you need,” hospital CEO Brian Williams told trustees. Trustees also approved a contract for Dr. Kayla Daniels, who will join as a family practitioner in 2021 who can help out on obstetrics. Her father still lives in the Dennis area and works in Parsons, Williams said. Daniels is completing a residency at College Station, Texas. The third contract was for an emergency room doctor.