Automated robotic systems used to combat hospital-acquired infections topped the ECRI Institute’s "2015 Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List," an annual report on technologies healthcare executives should look out for in the next year to 18 months.
The robots use UV radiation and other light-based technologies to kill spores found in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and C. difficile. The devices are costly, with price tags ranging from $47,000 to $125,000, but the cost of battling the drug-resistant bugs are high too. ECRI noted that the capital equipment could have "large positive implications for infection prevention practices and capital and operational budgets," according to the institute.
Memphis-based Lumalier Corp., San Antonio-based Xenex Disinfection Services and Horsham, Pa.-based Bioquell were highlighted by ECRI as vendors of the anti-infection robots.
Hospital-acquired infection rates have exploded in recent years, with 1 in 25 patients reporting at least 1 HAI on any given day, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Hospital-acquired infections result in about 75,000 deaths annually, according to the CDC.
ECRI also flagged the much-maligned Google Glass platform as a potentially transformative technology, even though the Silicon Valley goliath halted sales of the Glass consumer product this week.
EnteroMedics (NSDQ:ETRM), which this week won pre-market approval from the FDA for its anti-obesity Maestro neurostimulation implant, also drew a nod from ECRI as 1 of 3 minimally invasive devices designed to combat less severe obesity. The Endobarrier made by GI Dynamics (ASX:GID) and ReShape Medical‘s Duo system also made the list of bariatric devices to watch. Of the 3 devices, only EnteroMedics’ Maestro has been approved for use in the U.S.
Other technologies the institute highlighted included artificial pancreas device systems and 3D printers. To download the full watch list, click here.