Clean hands do, in fact, save lives and Intelligent M has found a way to increase the likelihood that your doctor or nurse at your next hospital visit has washed their hands before ever touching you.
Since hand contact is the leading cause of infection, the World Health Organization (WHO) has carried out extensive research to reduce infections in medical facilities. To simplify the process they have identified five moments for hand hygiene:
- Before touching a patient
- Before clean and aseptic procedures
- after contact with body fluids
- after touching patient
- after touch patient surroundings.
Intelligent M is an RFID-based system that “monitors” these five moments for hospitals. Using Bluetooth Low Energy SmartTags on a patients doorway in combination with RFID tags and accelerometers embedded in a healthcare workers wrist-worn SmartBand a simple vibration notification is sent out to wash their hands at each of the these five moments. Taking it one step further, the band will let them know if they haven’t washed sufficiently.
All the data collected by the SmartBand is specific to the user and produce analytics for each user. A hospital can, in essence, track compliance and even go so far as to potentially trace patient infections to particular healthcare workers.
The infrastructure for the device is quite simple and the cost savings would likely be attractive to any hospital looking to cut expenses.
Though the healthcare world tends to be a slow adapter, this device might break that stereotype. In 2007, Atul Gawande’s New Yorker article about the resistance encountered in implementing Peter Pronovost’s checklist for patient care revealed hospitals using a checklist for Doctors and Nurses found quite remarkable reductions in infections and mistakes. Even so, there was still significant pushback from healthcare professionals. Intelligent M turns the checklist into a digital system that removes the need (and cost) of observers to make sure healthcare workers are staying compliant.