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Robot eliminates hard to kill superbugs

Palomar Medical Center is moving to the forefront of healthcare technology here in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Palomar Medical Center is moving to the forefront of healthcare technology here in San Diego. 

On Tuesday, the medical center showed off a new germ-zapping robot that can quickly disinfect and eliminate hard-to-kill superbugs in hospitals. 

Palomar Medical Center has been using two robots to clean hospital rooms since 2011, and officials said they are essential. 

Each of the robots cost about $100,000 a piece, but according to hospital officials, the investment is well worth it. 

The robots are used in rooms that have already been cleaned by hand. They have the ability to get rid of what disinfectants cannot, like Ebola or even anthrax. 

Melinda Hart with Xenex said the robots are 99.9-percent effective. 

The robot is turned on in four minute increments throughout a patient's room, including the bathroom. Flickers of light bathe those specific areas looking for microorganisms. 

"It penetrates the cell wall of that microorganism, scrambles it, so it can't harm the next patient in that room," said Hart. 

No one is allowed to be in the same room as the robot when it's on because the UV-light it puts out is 500 to 2,000 times more intense than sunlight. 

Each cleaning takes less than 15-minutes. 

Once complete, the robot self-reports issues, and information is stored automatically on the cloud. 

"You have to keep up with the technology and we at Palomar Health consider technology an important part of our providing care to our patients," said Hart. 

The Xenex robot is in more than 300 health care facilities worldwide and they all have a name. 

The ones at Palomar Medical Center are named Thor and Elton. 

Palomar officials said they are the first hospital system in San Diego to use the new technology. 

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