Every year in the United States, over 2 Million people get an infection after they are admitted to a hospital. Of these infections, 100,000 of them are fatal. This is more deaths than AIDS, breast cancer and car accidents combined.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), the number one way hospitals can prevent these infections is by increasing hand hygiene amongst their staff members. Yet the average hospital in the US today has a 40% compliance rate with guidelines, meaning they are sanitizing their hands less than half the times they’re supposed to.
The reason for this is because the hand hygiene system today is widely antiquated. The sink and alcohol sanitizer dispensers are located on the wall, yet most of the opportunities for hand hygiene occur near the patient’s bed-side. Furthermore, hand hygiene today is monitored manually in most facilities, with nurses observing their peers and recording compliance data with pen and paper.
SwipeSense makes use of recent advances in sensor and web technologies to solve both of these hand hygiene challenges. SwipeSense is a portable, trackable hand sanitation device that clips onto the scrubs of a physician or nurse and dispenses one dose of alcohol hand sanitizer with the squeeze of a hand. Embedded electronics in each device transmit individual hand hygiene data to our web-application in real-time via a sensor network plugged into outlets throughout the hospital.
This enables us to capture both hand hygiene frequency data, and location data based on device proximity to our various sensors. Our web-application provides hospital administration with anonymous reports for infection prevention strategies, while providing personal rewards and incentives to individual staff members.
We currently have 6 hospitals in the Chicago-area who have committed to piloting SwipeSense demonstrating a clear need for our technology in a variety of healthcare settings. Our first pilot is currently in progress at Northwestern Memorial Hospital the results of which will be published in September 2012.
The CDC estimates that Hospital-Acquired Infections are responsible for over $37 Billion in direct medical costs annually, with up to 70% of these infections preventable through proper hand hygiene. While there are other technologies in this space, none have effectively solved this problem to date.
We are currently raising capital for our company to fund our additional 5 pilots and further product development. Over the course of the next 18 months we will be working with a US-based PCB manufacturer, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer producer and filling partner, as well as an injection molding and assembly partner. At the same time we will be collaborating with faculty and academics and our 6 partner institutions to produce several scientific studies showing the clinical effectiveness and economic viability of our technology. These studies will be crucial in order to gain widespread adoption as we work to make SwipeSense the new standard in hand hygiene.
If we are successful, our technology could help save millions of lives annually, and dramatically reduce healthcare costs worldwide.