Project Summary - Breaking the Chain of Infection

WHAT: A wearable device with sensors that reminds the user to wash their hands
WHY: To reduce the amount of infections that occur while in hospital care

What is the current situation?

Healthcare-Related Infections (HAIs) are infections that occur while in the care of a healthcare institution. These infections can lead to prolonged hospital stays, and increased likelihood of drug-resistant disease, or even death. This problem can be solved if healthcare workers maintain their hand hygiene by washing their hands frequently. Figure 1 shows the correlation between hand hygiene and infection rate.

Currently there is nothing in the market to ensure that these healthcare providers are keeping their hand hygiene up to standards. The EET aims to solve this issue.


Figure 1 - Overall healthcare-associated infection rate and hand hygiene compliance*



Figure 2 - Sink or handwashing station where sensor would be located

What is the EET Solution?

The EET will create a wearable device that notifies the wearer when their hand hygiene is not up to standards. This device will be synced to sensors placed in "hotspots", or areas with high amounts of bacteria around the hospital. These sensors will use RFID technology to detect the user's location and provide some sort of sensory reponse if hand washing is needed. Once the user washes their hands, another sensor located at the sink will notify the device of the action (Figure 2). The data from these devices will be collected to find the correlation between hand washing and hotspot exposure frequency, which can be used to improve hand hygiene practices in the institution.

Next month, the EET plans to talk to potential suppliers for the materials, as well as research the reusage of the RFID scanners. This is to ensure the product will be used by the healthcare workers and that the product is being made as sustainable as possible.

Sustainable Innovation?

This device addresses UN Sustainability Goal 3, promoting good health and well-being (Figure 3). The device is durable and inexpensive, so it can be used all over the world. It could be used to help combat the spread of communicable diseases in developing countries, an issue that is addressed by this Sustainablity Goal.

 By reducing the number of Healthcare Associated Illnesses, this device will help reduce the number of multidrug resistant diseases, such as MDR-TB. This will further address the goal by helping ensure that the vaccines people receive will protect them against illnesses.


Figure 3 - UN Sustainable Development Goal 3**


*Reduction of Healthcare-Associated Infections by Exceeding High Compliance with Hand
Hygiene Practices. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 22(9):16-28, 2016.