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Yes, that was a robot that just prepped your hospital room

You pay a premium -- no doubt about that -- for the hospital in-patient "experience," so you certainly want things done in a timely and conscientious manner.

In a medical facility, doing things right centrally encompasses hospital administrators and staff members ensuring a safe and hygienic environment. Although many people might reasonably believe that this is not much of a problem and a readily achieved goal in all instances (after all, hospitals are places where people go to rid themselves of ailments and to get better), hospital environments are actually quite problematic when it comes to germs and other nasty things.

In fact, and as proven through empirical evidence from myriad studies, hospitals are veritable repositories for dangerous and resistant viruses and bacteria.

That might sound ironical, but it's just a flat truth: According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.7 million patients contract hospital-acquired infections annually in American hospitals. The CDC estimates that those infections yield about 100,000 fatalities each year.

That makes disinfecting and sterilizing hospitals an imperative for patients. In fact, cleaning in the hospital environment is literally a matter of life and death.

As noted in a recent media article on that subject, "human workers aren't great at disinfecting the thousands of surfaces in a hospital room."

Reportedly, robots are.

Moreover, they work all shifts, don't complain and never take coffee breaks.

The above-cited story notes that room-cleaning robots are likely to become mainstream fixtures in medical facilities, given their reported ability to kill germs. One model uses UV light energy to sweep a room, which kills bacteria and prevents its further reproduction. Its maker says the robot is up to 99.99 percent effective in creating a virus- and bacteria-free environment.

Much more testing is likely on the horizon, given that -- as noted in one national health magazine -- "there is little empirical evidence of what technology works best."

What ultimately proves most effective and cost efficient will certainly become an important hospital tool for promoting patient safety.

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