By Andrew Liszewski
A company called Xhale has developed a sensor for hospitals and other medical facilities that could help reduce the number of patients that get life-threatening infections while receiving medical care. The HyGreen features sensors that are capable of detecting drugs via someone’s breath, but they’re instead used to detect sanitizer or soap fumes given off by someone’s hands. And instead of serving as a tattle-tale as to who hasn’t washed up, the HyGreen system is designed to serve as a friendly reminder to hospital and medical staff that it might be time to wash or sanitize their hands again. Here’s the ‘how it works’ blurb from the company’s press release:
The health-care worker squirts sanitizer gel or soap into his or her hand before passing it under a wall-mounted sensor. A wireless signal from a badge worn by the worker activates a green light on the hand-washing sensor. When the worker enters a patient room, a monitor near the bed detects the status of the badge, and flashes green if the person has clean hands. If the person has not washed, or too much time has passed between washing and approaching the patient, the badge will give a gentle “reminder” vibration.
At the moment the HyGreen system is being tested at the Neuro Intensive Care Unit at the University of Florida Shands medical center, and if things go well the system could be installed elsewhere to help reduce the nearly 2 million hospital-acquired infections that occur each year in the U.S. alone.