For Xanitos CEO and Founder Graeme Crothall, the old adage of being “a jack of all trades and a master of none” holds true to when it comes to offering contracted services within a hospital setting. Instead of potentially diluting its quality by also providing foodservice or other primary services to its clients, the company focuses its efforts entirely on one thing: making sure hospitals remain as clean as possible.

“Our biggest challenge is convincing hospitals that housekeeping is a specialty and not something anyone can do,” he says. “We don’t believe in bundling housekeeping together with unlike services such as foodservice.”

Founded in 2008, the Newtown Square, Penn.-based company is one of the five largest providers of environmental services to hospitals in the United States. Xanitos is a preferred provider to Kaiser Permanente, which has a system of more than 40 hospitals; and Community Health Services, which operates 198 hospitals in 29 states. The company also serves smaller hospitals and health networks. “We’re the only pure environmental services player in the industry that solely serves hospitals,” he adds. 

Although the company has operations across the country, it maintains a relatively lean corporate structure. “We believe we have an advantage when it comes to agility. The market is changing, and because of our size we can move quickly to meet these changes,” Crothall says. “We are large enough to serve, yet small enough to care.”

A Team Effort

Keeping its focus exclusively on housekeeping has enabled Xanitos to develop a cleaning method that it considers the best of its kind in the industry. The company’s XRO System – which it recently received a patent for – is centered on the use of its proprietary XRO-3 vacuum cart. The cart features a hose that can be extended or retracted back into the cart by pushing a button on the vacuum’s wand. The cart’s electrical cord is also retractable.

The cart’s vacuum has a sound rating of 50 decibels, significantly quieter than most vacuums and about the same as a normal speaking voice. The vacuum can be used to remove dust not only from surface areas but also from vents, corners, edges and high ledges. 

The vacuum draws dust and dirt particles from the room into an ultra-low particulate air (ULPA) filtered bag that is housed into the cart. The filter system retains particles that are 0.12 microns or larger – a size that is roughly 1/100th the diameter of a human hair, the company says.

The vacuum cart is one of two carts used by a three-person cleaning team. The XRO-3 cart remains in the hallway while one of the team members uses its 35-foot hose to vacuum ceiling vents, soft surfaces, corners and floors in the patient’s room. The other two team members use a sanitizing cart that includes clean mop buckets, cleaning chemical storage, germicidal wipe buckets and places to deposit soiled mops and wipes. The cart also includes a drawer with an ultraviolet light in which vacuum attachments are placed after their use. The ultraviolet light kills any bacteria present on the attachments within 90 seconds of their placement in the drawer, Crothall says.

At the start of the process, two team members remove trash and excess debris from an area of typically 50 to 60 patient rooms, while the third team member uses the XRO-3 vacuum cart. Once trash removal is completed, the first two team members follow the vacuumer and clean adjacent rooms with the same sanitizing cart. Following this, they mop floors using a pre-soaked microdenier fiber mop. The thorough daily vacuuming ensures low levels of pathogen-carrying dust; the UV drawer ensures the vacuum attachments do not carry pathogens from room to room; and focus on thorough cleaning of “high touchpoints” minimizes the risk of pathogens being carried from one room to another by a person touching these points in each room.   

Further, the use of three people during the cleaning process means that patients generally see one or more of them during the cleaning process. This visibility is directly related to hospitals receiving higher scores on third-party surveys and the national HCAHPS hospital patient satisfaction survey. “One question on these surveys is ‘…how often were your room and bathroom kept clean?,’ and one problem with that could be a room being cleaned while a patient was gone, making it less apparent in their mind,” Crothall adds. “If there are three different visits, it’s a fixed point in a patient’s mind that housekeepers were there.” 

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