Grand Valley State University’s applied Medical Devise Institute (aMDI) is devoted to innovation and the overall improvement of human health. aMDI is a collaboration of students, faculty and the GVSU community that connects students, education and health care to the community.
In partnership with Sterilogy, a hand hygiene company based in Michigan, aMDI undergraduate and graduate students, along with the help of Dr. Karl Brakora, developed the Hand Hygiene Compliance System: A three-device system that will be used to decrease hospital infections.
“The Hand Hygiene Compliance System is a product designed to be worn on the belt or waist of a health care worker, including doctors, nurses and any other health care worker that interacts with a patient,” said Jonathon Vinsko, aMDI electronics engineer. “They are required to sterilize their hands prior to engaging with a patient as well as after. This system monitors whether or not they complied with this requirement, as well as notifies them when they should be sanitizing.”
Vinsko said that the design process was challenging, especially since the team had to start from scratch. Before starting the designing and building of the project, the team had to think of the idea itself and validate that the idea was feasible. Once this process was completed, the team had to put the prototypes through multiple tests.
“The process involves a lot of brainstorming and talking through ideas, communicating with the team to try to get them to understand how you’re thinking and plenty of failed experiments,” Vinsko said. “Many crude versions of the device are made during concept validation before finally having something presentable, and even at that point there are many versions left to do before a product might become market-ready.”
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “On any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.” For aMDI, the main goal of the Hand Hygiene Compliance System is to reduce these hospital infections. The device is small, compact and easily accessible, and will also notify health care professionals of when they should be sanitizing.
“This product is an awesome idea and I’m glad I had a part of it. It’s going to revolutionize the way health care workers sterilize themselves, and it’s definitely going to boost compliance,” Vinsko said. “This will long-term reduce the number of infections and make hospitals safer all around.”
Hospitals are supposed to be safe, healthy places for patients to recover, but without proper hygiene, hospitals can have the opposite effect. Vinsko stressed that the problem of hospital hygiene and infections is relatable to each and every person.
“The GVSU community has a lot of programs going into the medical field. This could be a device some of them wear someday,” Vinsko said. “Also, many people will either be admitted to a hospital or know someone personally who is admitted to a hospital. This system will ensure the doctors, nurses and other workers are following proper hygiene procedures to ensure that hospital infections do not affect the people you know and love.”