Although Ebola is grabbing the headlines, the human cost of hospital-acquired infections is also concerning: About 1.7 million people in the U.S. contract an infection each year resulting in 99,000 deaths. Read about three smart innovations that are helping medical establishments wipe the slate clean by eradicating pathogens.
Getting the Upper Hand on Hospital Infections
We all like to think we’ll be in good hands if we have to hospitalized. More important is to be in clean hands. With about one in every 25 people admitted to a hospital in the U.S. ending up with a healthcare-acquired infection, frequent hand washing by medical personnel is crucial to reducing that rate. The intelligentM bracelet device aims to make it easier for staff to keep tabs on who is washing up and who isn’t. The bracelet, worn by doctors, nurses and other staff who are in contact with patients, uses RFID tags to communicate with sensors located in areas where washing is required. It recognizes the movements associated with hand washing and the application of sanitizers. If it detects that hand hygiene is being performed, it buzzes to let staff know and an electronic record is provided to management.
Using Smart Sheets to Put Infectious Bacteria to Bed
Hospital patients may soon sleep better knowing they’re sleeping safer. That’s because Australia’s RMIT University, working with scientists from the country’s national science agency CSIRO, have developed an antibacterial fabric for use in medical facilities that are capable of killing off E. coli and other infectious bacteria within 10 minutes of contact. By embedding so-called nanowires coated with a silver solution into cotton textiles, silver ions are slowly released in the material, which then attack bacteria. The researchers say the fabric could be used in hospital bedding, linens and surgical aprons to help eliminate healthcare-acquired infections.
Doing the Robot to Terminate Germs
To put the zap on lingering viruses and bacteria, some hospitals are seeing disinfection in a completely different light. That’s because robots, made by Xenex, are rolling in rooms after standard cleanings to wipe out any remaining pathogens with pulsed, high-intensity xenon ultraviolet light that is 25,000 times brighter than fluorescent light. The process takes about 15 minutes to clean a room. According to the company, the robots are on standby at the U.S. Air Force Hospital in Langley, Virginia, to destroy any potential Ebola-like viruses.
For more inspiration on how smart innovations in healthcare are benefitting citizens and communities, read the post How Citizens, Technology Help Track and Attack Ebola Outbreak.
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University College Cork
(2B)OR!(2B): From the Beehive to the Cloud and Back
Fiona Edwards Murphy, Liam O’Leary, Killian Troy, Lily Pinson and Katie Hetherington
Cloud and Mobile used to monitor honeybees in the hive.
Boston University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Street Bumps and Big Data Analytics: Crowdsourcing Our Way to Better Roads
Theodora Brisimi, Yue Zhang, Wuyang Dai, Setareh Ariafar, Nicholis Baladis
Analytics to crowd source the path to better roads
Delft University of Technology
Proposal for IEEE/IBM Smarter Planet Challenge
Amir Piltan, Nicolas Kramer Floyd, Olac Grouwstra
Cloud based analytics platform for health care SMEs
Sun-Yat Sen University and South China University of Technology
Jianghong Zhou, Zixiao Yang, Cindy Chen, Heng Du, Jujie Peng
Mining medical data for improved health care
People are usually given a breathalyser test to determine whether they are over the legal limit for alcohol consumption. Here’s a more pleasant application of this testing – - -
Students at UC Davis are working on helping dolphins and other marine life. It looks like wet but happy work…
And honestly, how could you not smile back for this face? [Dolphin encounter image by Ste Elmore, CC BY 2.0]
Perhaps current human breathalyzer testing will expand to being a diagnostic tool for people, too! There are ideas in the works – check out this article: Sports concussion ‘breathalyser’ proposed Scientists at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. are developing a “breathalyser” to detect concussions, which will be used to prevent brain injuries among athletes, especially children.
And, should you manage to pick up the April 2014 issue of Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology, there’s an interesting research article on this topic [Designing breathalyser technology for the developing world: how a single breath can fight the double disease burden (Authors: Sarah Krisher, Alison Riley, and Khanjan Mehta, Vol. 38, No. 3 , Pages 156-163(doi:10.3109/03091902.2014.890678)] Abstract: The meteoric rise in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, alongside already high rates of infectious diseases, is exacerbating the ‘double disease burden’ in the developing world. There is a desperate need for affordable, accessible and ruggedized diagnostic tools that detect diseases early and direct patients to the correct channels. Breath analysis, the science of utilizing biomarkers in the breath for diagnostic measures, is growing rapidly, especially for use in clinical diagnostic settings. Breathalyser technologies are improving scientifically, but are not yet ready for productization and dissemination to address healthcare challenges. How does one ensure that these new biomedical devices will be suitable for use in developing communities? This article presents a comprehensive review of breath analysis technologies followed by a discussion on how such devices can be designed to conform with WHO’s ASSURED criteria so as to reach and sustain in developing countries where they are needed the most.