Oxford: Smart door handle that sanitises hands launched to help fight against superbugs and other infections
PullClean, an innovative door handle that sanitises your hands, triples the rate of hand sanitisation rates and provides feedback on usage through a monitoring system, has been launched in the UK.
Invented by Altitude Medical UK co-founders, Dr Alex Oshmyanksy and Dr Jake McKnight, when they were students at the University of Oxford, PullClean encourages people to clean their hands every time they enter and exit a room, making hand hygiene simple and trackable. It was developed to reduce the spread of viruses and infections in any high-footfall setting such as hospitals, care homes, schools and universities, as well as leisure and hospitality venues such as hotels, restaurants, shopping centres and airports.
To mark its UK launch, PullClean can be seen at the Science Museum as part of a new exhibition, ‘Superbugs: the fight for our lives’, which explores how society is responding to the enormous challenge of antibiotic resistance and bacteria evolving into superbugs. The exhibition is on until Spring 2019.
While clean hands can dramatically reduce the spread of germs and infections, one of the biggest obstacles is getting people to use sanitiser regularly, because even with multiple wall-mounted dispensers, they simply forget. A pilot trial of a prototype of PullClean in the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in the USA, saw the rate of hand sanitation rise from 24% to 77% after it was installed.
PullClean encourages people to clean their hands, simply by placing the sanitiser in a more direct position and replacing two separate actions (sanitising and then opening a door) into one seamless movement. By
increasing hand sanitisation rates, it will help organisations protect patients, customers and staff through reduced incidence of infections. This will not only potentially save lives, but will also reduce the likelihood of customer and patient complaints or lawsuits and damaged reputation, as well as reducing the incidence of staff sickness.
According to Dr Jake McKnight, co-inventor of the breakthrough device and general manager at Altitude Medical UK: “Our device offers a completely new way to clean hands. We wanted to make it so easy for people to sanitise their hands, that it is almost subconscious. It’s a small step to press a button when you’re already holding the handle anyway. The irony is that handles are usually a big transmitter of bugs but PullClean can help stop them in their tracks and drive down unnecessary, expensive and harmful infections.”
The design is simple: A tube-shaped cartridge is placed in the centre of a hollow door handle, which releases a small amount of sanitiser when a blue paddle button is pressed. But these door handles aren’t just savvy, they’re also smart.
Each handle includes a monitoring system that records a variety of data, from how much sanitiser is left in the handle and when the cartridge should next be changed, to hourly usage stats compared to how frequently doors are opened. For healthcare settings this can include hand sanitisation rates across wards, shifts and even entire hospitals.
Infection prevention and control is a top priority for all hospitals and care homes and they are constantly looking at new ways to try and bring infection rates down even lower. PullClean helps meet Care Quality Commission Infection Prevention and Control requirements and provides a quantifiable insight into infection control performance.
Since November 2016, PullClean has already been used in the USA by organisations including Hilton and Marriott hotels, as well as a number of hospitals, care homes, doctor surgeries, restaurants and universities.
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