According to groups like the CDC and World Health Organization, a little bit of hand sanitizer can go a long way in combatting hospital acquired infections and the development of drug resistant organisms.
Many of us will be familiar with our own hospital’s efforts to improve hand hygiene compliance, which often includes someone with a clipboard watching us go in and out of patient rooms. SwipeSense is a startup that has an interesting and slightly more modern approach to improving hand hygiene. And a recent round of funding they got suggests that they’ve got potential.
The system consists of several wearable and connected components. First, clinicians all wear badges that communicate with a variety of sensors and devices. Hand sanitizer is dispensed by clip-on dispensers designed for scrubs as well as wall mounted units. Every time you use the hand sanitizer, a signal is sent to your badge tracking that usage. Room hubs track your location using your badge as well.
Data is pulled from your badge by Comm Hubs put at central locations like nursing stations. Putting all of that data together, the idea is to automate hand hygiene tracking and make it a constant, ongoing process.
It’s an interesting approach to an important issue. Intuitively, I’d imagine that if every single clinician is being constantly monitored for hand hygiene performance, then it would be straightforward to develop systems around that to get close to 100% compliance.
Studies evaluating SwipeSense’s performance, and its cost effectiveness in particular, will be important as hospitals consider whether it’s worth the investment. A quick search of PubMed and ClinicalTrials.gov didn’t show any published or ongoing studies at this time.