A Hand Hygiene Assessment Device for Healthcare Professionals
Brian Seddon, Baljit Singh, Santhosh Padmanabhan and Eithne Dempsey (MiCRA, ITT Dublin)
Hy-GENSOR is a mobile, self-monitoring (SM) hand-hygiene technology for busy healthcare workers. The device scrutinizes hand-hygiene status, offering quantitative infection-risk assessment in real-time. No analysis system exists which can yield this quality of information. Microbiological techniques are powerful but need hours, or even days, to confirm results. Swab-type colorimetric tests are marketed (MERCK), but these tests give qualitative “state-of-cleanliness” estimates, which are largely used by the food industry.
Hy-GENSOR focuses on the rapid assessment of hand hygiene, where an alpha-numeric display alerts the user to finger or hand bacterial cell numbers, or provides a feedback statement on hygiene status. It is envisage that the technology will extend to higher quality information, such as species identification.
Hy-GENSOR is based on electrochemical sensor technology. The sensor is composed of a micro-porous membrane possessing a hydrophilic gel sub-layer with consumable reagents. A finger (palm) touch to the membrane transfers microbial cells onto the gel. Enzymatic reactions ensue which are quantified by a coulometric electrode system. This electronic signal is calibrated in cell-count density, cfu/sq.mm, and data displayed/stored/Wi-Fi downloaded by a pocket meter.
SM hand-hygiene technology is intended for use throughout the healthcare industry: hospital wards, GP surgeries, clinics, dentists – covering social, hygiene and surgical hand-washing. Importantly, the device would find opportunities in efficiency analysis (hand-wash protocols), spot-test evaluations, liability and risk assessments. SM tests are large-volume consumable items and would need to be priced accordingly (< €0.2 per test). In the case of the UK, with 200 or so large NHS hospitals and 1000s of healthcare personnel, the minimum market size is over €20m (daily testing/annum) in disposables.
MiCRA has expertise in electronic sensor research and SM-prototype development. MiCRA has the knowledge base and practical know-how to prototype Hy-GENSOR, run preliminary trials and evaluate the technology’s range of functionality.
In the first instance the inventors seek to establish IP rights for the Hy-GENSOR concept. R&D co-operations with healthcare and diagnostics partners are the preferred route to commercialisation. Companies operating within the hospital-hygiene industry with an established sales network and the capacity to implement a marketing programme for new hygiene-related products would be of particular interest.
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For further information, contact Brian Seddon.