The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) announced in an April 30 statement that it will complete the first evaluation of a UV-Disinfection robot in Canada.
While UV-C is already known to kill microorganisms on surfaces and in the air, the novelty of this technology is the robotics, which allows it to be fully autonomous and mobile. This robot could potentially reduce healthcare-associated infections and their consequences, including health complications, deaths and extra costs.
“We ordered this robot as the COVID-19 pandemic was emerging in China and Europe, with the objective to be first to evaluate this technology in Canada. An automated system can potentially improve patient safety, as well as protect hospital personnel,” says Dr. Bruce Mazer, Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of the RI-MUHC (Interim). “The robot was delivered at the RI-MUHC on Monday, April 27, and will be tested in one patient room and one operating room at the RI-MUHC Centre for Innovative Medicine at the Glen site. We will also take this opportunity to assess if it can be used to disinfect stretchers and N-95 masks.”
Gaining popularity in the world as the current COVID-19 pandemic develops, the robot is programmed to emit concentrated UV-C ultraviolet light onto infectious hotspots. According to the Danish manufacturer UVD Robots, the robot aims at preventing and reducing the spread of infectious diseases, vira, bacteria, and other types of harmful organic microorganisms in the environment by breaking down their DNA structure.
“It is not new to disinfect with UV-C, but the combination of ultraviolet light and robotics makes this technology very interesting. The UV-Disinfection robot can autonomously drive around and position itself optimally in a relation to infection hotspots in any hospital setup. It can apparently achieve a higher disinfection efficiency in less time compared to existing solutions. It’s definitely worth evaluating,” explained Rami Tohme, Director of Infrastructure and Biomedical Engineering at the RI-MUHC.
The technology assessment will determine the potential value of the UVD robot technology compared to existing technologies using safety, efficacy, and effectiveness criteria. It will also include a user interface and automation test to assess the mapping function, path planning and the autonomous capabilities of the robot at the MUHC Glen site.
According to the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, about 8,000 Canadians die from hospital-acquired infections each year; 220,000 others get infected. Healthcare-associated infections also result in significant extra costs for hospitals due to additional days of hospitalization and readmissions. Now, with the novel coronavirus situation, there is an increased interest in this technology. More than 40 hospitals purchased it worldwide.
— Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC)