Stewart Memorial Community Hospital invests in robot technology to fight COVID-19

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) recently acquired life-saving equipment for the protection of its patients. The Lake City hospital took delivery of four UVC disinfection robots which will be used to reduce hospital-acquired infections (HAI). 

According to Rhonda Leitch RN, BSN, CIC; Infection Control Epidemiologist at McLaren-Oakland, “HAIs can lead to increased morbidity, mortality, and cost to the patient and hospital, and has contributed to increased length of stay. Studies suggest that contaminated environmental surfaces can contribute to the transmission of HAIs.” The Centers for Disease Control confirm that each day, about 1 in 31 U.S. patients has at least one infection associated with hospital care. That is 1.7 million patients with an estimated 98,000 patients dying because of improper sanitation.

With the safety of patients of primary concern, the administrative team at SMCH investigated ways to decrease HAIs in ways that made sense for the critical access hospital. “While our environmental services team does an outstanding job in ensuring patient and staff areas exceed cleanliness standards, the technology of the disinfection robots add an extra layer of security for the safety of our patients,” comments SMCH CEO Cindy Carstens. “We felt the investment in this technology was crucial for our mission as we are committed to quality health and wellness for those in the communities we serve. Fortunately, we were able to secure funding through the Iowa Department of Public Health’s COVID Response grant.” The use of the robots perfectly addressed the purpose of the grant which included mitigating COVID-19 by keeping hospital staff and patients safe. 

The Skytron UVC disinfection robot is an advanced, paired system designed to work in tandem to emit industry-leading germicidal energy with the flexibility of a dual-emitter platform. The result is very fast and highly effective disinfection treatments. Through effective, single-cycle, whole-room disinfection, Skytron UV automatically delivers the correct dose of powerful UV rays ensuring maximum germicidal treatment with every cycle.

Environmental services staff and operating room staff received training on the robots and will begin utilizing them once initial setup is complete. “Each area must be defined with the dimensions and materials in the room. We’ve identified each space used by patients, including patient rooms, COVID isolation rooms, the emergency room, Rehab Services, and even the areas that are currently under construction,” explains Shirley Naughton, Environmental Services supervisor. 

“In addition to our already stringent disinfection methods, we are thrilled to add this technology to our arsenal for fighting germs and helping our patients recover safely,” operating room supervisor Courtni McLaughlin adds. “The 15 minute scan will result in even greater peace of mind for them and for the medical providers, nurses, and staff who care for them.”