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Tackling Hospital Superbugs with Groundbreaking Irisys Infrared Technology

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-02-09 (Revised/Updated 2017-06-01) - Figures show that about nine per cent of patients actually acquire infections during a hospital stay. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Irisys at irisys.co.uk.

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Quote: "The impact of pathogens such as MRSA and C-difficile on the NHS first came to prominence in the 1990s."

NHS figures show that about nine per cent of patients actually acquire infections during a hospital stay. This costs the Health Service around GBP1billion annually - money that could be saved by something as simple as regular hand washing.

As part of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), the National Institute for Health Research Invention for Innovation program has awarded a two year contract to British infrared specialist, Irisys, to develop sensors to drive improvement in compliance with hospital hand-washing regulations.

Together with associated communication and reporting systems, the result will be a groundbreaking automatic monitoring and alerting system that will be affordable and non-intrusive. Initially designed for the NHS, the system will subsequently be applicable to all healthcare providers, and to other industries such as food processing and handling.

The impact of pathogens such as MRSA and C-difficile on the NHS first came to prominence in the 1990s. Many people carry these bugs with no effect on their day-to-day health. But in a hospital environment, the situation becomes potentially life-threatening.

Hand cleansing is a key way to cut infection rates.

To reduce the possibility of passing infection between individuals, any person having contact with patients should wash their hands thoroughly...

  • When they first enter a patient area
  • Before and after touching a patient
  • Before leaving an area or moving to another patient after touching anything else

The Irisys solution is called the Intelligent Hand-washing Monitor (IHM).

The system looks at the behavior of personnel in the hospital environment so that hand-washing compliance is improved in line with established procedures. The infrared system monitors movement in and out of a specific area; and the number of times each hand-wash unit is used. Compliance rates are then calculated, displayed locally and reported.

The IHM project complements the Irisys existing program in Assisted Living, where the company is developing infrared sensing products and systems that can help to monitor elderly and disabled people and others at risk of injury, without intruding on their privacy. It represents another significant step by Irisys into the healthcare market.

Data source: National Audit Office report, 17 February 2000

Related Information:

  1. Is Using Hot Water for Washing Hands More Effective Than Using Cold Water - Study reveals that when washing hands cool water removes the same amount of harmful bacteria as warm or hot water - Rutgers University
  2. Hospital Hand Washing Leads to Rise in Dermatitis - Incidence of dermatitis increased in health care workers following hand hygiene drive to reduce infections such as MRSA - University of Manchester
  3. Health Workers Exposed to Unsafe Triclosan Levels in Antibacterial Soap - Hand-washing with antibacterial soap exposes hospital workers to significant and potentially unsafe levels of triclosan - University of California - San Francisco


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