Hand washing is one of the most important and easy ways of reducing the transfer of pathogens from person to person. It is so important, that most hospitals have guidelines on proper hand washing techniques. However, it is not always consistently done.
According to the CDC, nearly 2 million people get infections while in US hospitals annually and around 100,000 of those people die.
Even the best efforts can sometimes go awry, which is why a new startup, IntelligentM, has a novel solution.
The creators of IntelligentM have designed a bracelet/wristband that vibrates when the wearer has scrubbed their hands for a sufficient length of tie. It is tentatively called Hygiene Helper. The wristband also has the ability to alert authorized personnel to the level of compliance of the wearer.
The wristband reads RFID tags that are strategically placed on hand-washing and sanitizing stations throughout a hospital or clinic. An accelerometer can detect how long an employee spends washing their hands; the wristband buzzes once if the procedure is done correctly and three times if it’s not.
IntelligentM president Seth Freedman explains, “Over the last two years, we have developed a technology that allows us to alert health-care workers on the spot if they aren’t washing or sanitizing according to the [Centers for Disease Control] specifications.”
The iMedicalApps team has previously discussed the importance of hand washing in various articles. In fact, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) physicians, nurses and IT specialists understand this all too well, having collaborated on an iOS app that more efficiently documents and reports hand-hygiene compliance.
Interestingly, because the RFID tags can be placed outside of patient’s rooms, the article mentions that the system can alert healthcare workers to wash their hands before dealing with a high risk procedure such as changing a patient’s catheter. Each wristband also records data regarding compliance. The data can be downloaded via a microUSB connection in order to keep track of who is properly washing their hands.
The below video describes what the company is all about.