Robots at hospital

Luis Ruiz (from left), Dawn Kent, Patricia Llamas and Patrick Lacanlale, members of the Environmental Services team at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital, pose with the three-unit Skytron Surfacide robot that will use UV light to disinfect patient rooms and operating rooms.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold and hospitals prepare for an influx of patients, the stakes for keeping facilities clean is higher than ever. Cleaning and sanitation are a top priority for everyone at Sutter Health, and this is no exception for David M. Thompson, CEO of Sutter Tracy Community Hospital.

Sutter Tracy Community Hospital recently purchased a Skytron Surfacide UVC Robot — an automatic, non-touch ultraviolet C disinfection system. UV-C disinfection technology uses light to kill or inactivate microorganisms and is used in a variety of non-hospital applications, such as food, air, water and surfaces. When presented with the opportunity to purchase a robot, Thompson approached Tracy Hospital Foundation to help with funding.

“It was such an easy decision by the board to help — and frankly, it felt good to be funding something so directly connected to keeping everyone healthy,” said Lisa Hume, director of philanthropy for Tracy Hospital Foundation. “The purchase was made from an endowment fund that was started when Sutter first came to this community.”

At about $100,000, the robot disinfects an entire patient room in about 30 minutes or a larger operating room in about 45 minutes. The UV light treatment is in addition to the hospital deep cleaning that employees already perform. Efficiency comes from the robot’s three-emitter design, allowing for more energy to be delivered in a single cycle in less time. The units do not require any repositioning, which allows a patient room and adjacent bathroom to be disinfected all at the same time.

“Disinfecting machines like these are more useful than ever right now,” Thompson said. “We know patients who have coronavirus or other communicable diseases will need to come to the hospital if their condition worsens. We want to ensure that we not only help them heal, but also prevent the spread to others inside the hospital. It’s really exciting to have state-of-the art equipment like this in Tracy thanks to our philanthropy partners and donors.”

Liz Madison is a media relations manager for Sutter Health. 

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