Hypepotamus: The Internet of Things Tackles Hygiene

By Maggie Markey

Clean Hands Safe Hands(CHSH) is a cost-effective, non-intrusive, wireless technology designed to help hospitals monitor and improve hand hygiene compliance down to the individual staff member. Their technology records, reminds, reports, and reacts to hand hygiene events throughout the health system.

Founded in 2013 by Chris Hermann, PhD, CEO, this system will monitor and distinguish compliance of individual employees, groups of employees, or non-employee individuals who enter or exit patient areas and rooms. The sensors do not require any physical modifications to the hospital, as they are battery powered, wireless, and mounted to any existing alcohol or soap dispenser. The system is customizable to fit the compliance needs of specific units, floors, hospitals, and staff groups and can be changed dynamically through the cloud with no physical contact to the system.

“Our founder, while working on his MD, saw what a huge problem hospital acquired infections (HAI) are to patient safety and to the hospital’s bottom line financially. Hand hygiene is the best way to lower infection rates, and working with GTRI, he developed a very sophisticated yet simple system for the provider to use.” – Gil Benton, COO

With this innovative new technology, CHSH is working to solve the problem of hospital acquired infections. Currently, numbers show anywhere from 1-2 million infections per year. This means that 1 in 25 patients infected and results in around 100,000 deaths a year. Not only is this super unfortunate for patients, but is also a huge expense for hospitals… it costs around  $10+ billion to treat HAI’s ($10,000/bed). To top it all off, treating HAI’s is no longer reimbursable. The providers are busy and simply forget to wash their hands… with up to 200 hand hygiene events per shift and a compliance rate of less than fifty percent, it’s no wonder that these numbers are so high. Studies have shown that improving hand hygiene can reduce HAIs by 40% – 70%.

How it works: As staff members enter or exit patient rooms, they will have a defined amount of time to sanitize. The CHSH Badge Reel and Sensor, using Bluetooth technology, uniquely identifies each employee and records hand hygiene events throughout the health system. The sensors mount to all dispensers, alcohol and soap. They provide an unobtrusive voice reminder to staff only when needed and record dispenser use. CHSH does not interfere with the current work-flow and is passive with proper sanitizing procedures. The badge reels have a unique identifier for each employee and communicate with the sensors to determine compliance at an individual staff level. They are small, easy to wear, and have batteries that last a full year.

The roots of this Atlanta-based team run deep. All current executives of this company are either GA Tech or UGA graduates, and have experience with multiple successful ATDCcompanies. They also have deep interaction with university grant funding via the Georgia Research Alliance, GA Tech, and Emory. Most of the research, development, and iterative testing of the hardware and firmware was done through grants with GA Tech, Emory, and the Center for Disease Control. One of most important aspects of the technology are that it was designed with a tremendous amount of input from the doctors and nurses at Emory and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The company is “in revenue” and has raised angel investment. They are looking to raise a round of funding in the next few months to support growth.

Be sure and check out WSB TV’s coverage of Clean Hands Safe Hands.

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