The use of Ultraviolet (UV) technology to kill pathogens in the hospital environment is on the rise – partly because there are now numerous studies that show the adoption of pulsed xenon UV can help drastically reduce Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI) rates1 and save patient lives.
Investing in UV disinfection technology doesn’t have to be a big and difficult decision – there may seem to be a maze of evidence to navigate with different types of UV, and numerous technologies and applications to consider – but there is only one technology that provides the clinical evidence to become a smart solution to HAIs.
Here, Xenex CEO, Morris Miller, addresses three common myths that persist about UV disinfection to help clarify some of the murky areas and assist you on your journey to becoming a UV advocate.
Myth #1: All UV disinfection is equal.
In 2008, Ph.D epidemiologists Dr. Mark Stibich and Dr. Julie Stachowiak founded Xenex.
While there were already a number of mercury bulb-based systems that worked by emitting low-intensity light at a single spectrum, they built Xenex Robots to emit broad spectrum, high-intensity pulsed light from xenon bulbs, which can disinfect up to 9 times faster and is more effective at eliminating pathogens than mercury bulb UV2.
Think about choosing between a garden hose and a power washer to clean your driveway. A power washer uses much less water than a garden hose, but forces it out at 18,000 pounds per square inch. Just as power washers use limited water more effectively, Xenex Robots make the most of the power coming out of electrical wall sockets.
Bulbs that release a pulse instead of a steady stream produce more intense light. Capacitors in a pulsed xenon bulb store the electrical charge and then release it in millisecond pulses. So pulsed xenon light releases more powerful photons than mercury bulbs, which renders pathogens unable to repair themselves or reproduce. You can see a graphic that illustrates this here.
The intensity of pulsed xenon light means a Xenex Robot disinfects an area in four minutes, vs 45-51 minutes with mercury bulb UV3.
Myth #2: No studies demonstrate the superiority of one technology over another.
There are now eight clinical outcome studies, published by hospitals in prestigious journals, that show Xenex Robots have significantly reduced infection rates in real hospital environments. No other light disinfection technology has these.
Three years ago, MD Anderson tested Xenex Robots and determined that they were 22 times better than manual housekeeping4. They went on to buy seven robots to supplement their cleaning practices and provide a safer environment for their patients.
Trinity Medical Center reported a 100%} reduction in total joint Surgical Site Infections (SSIs)5. Cooley Dickinson saw a 53% drop in their C. diff rate6.
Conversely, a two-year long Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study concluded that a mercury bulb UV device had no statistically significant effect on MSRA or C. diff.
These results clearly demonstrate the superiority of Xenex Robots over mercury technology.
Myth #3: Robots eliminate the need for cleaning protocols.
A proper epidemiological approach exists for disinfecting hospital rooms, and this still needs to take place to remove protein and other visible materials in the room before UV room disinfection can take place.
We ask housekeepers to clean in reverse order. They begin by cleaning the bathroom, then allow the Xenex Robot to pulse in the bathroom while they clean the rest of the room.
The robot is then run for four minutes on one side of the bed, before the housekeeper flips the remote control, mattress, nurse’s call button and other high-touch objects, and opens/closes all drawers and cabinets. After the robot runs on the other side of the bed the environment is ready for the next patient.
Choose the fastest, most effective disinfection method.
Inferior technologies can muddy the water when it comes to Ultraviolet disinfection.
It’s important to understand the underlying technology of a light disinfection system and to look for peer reviewed published outcome studies when considering any new technology for your facility.
This handy infographic helps explain the different types of evidence and studies that exist, and the four steps to fully validated outcomes.
You can also view all of the studies on Xenex technology here.
 Rutala WA, Weber DJ. Cleaning, disinfection and sterilization. In: Carrico R, ed. APIC Text of Infection Control and Epidemiology,
3rd ed. Washington, DC: Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc, 2009:21:1–:7.