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Contagion Spread Awareness System in Neonatal Intensive Care Units

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COSA (Contagion Spread Awareness System in Neonatal Intensive Care Units)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2019-08-01 do 2020-01-31

Hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections (HAI) occur 2-3 days after admission, and are irrelevant to the reason for hospitalization of the patient. They increase morbidity, deaths and costs. Every year, an average of about 4 million citizens of the European Union are affected by HAIs and around 150 thousand people die. Moreover, the annual cost to European Union countries is approximately 7 billion Euros.

The most important cause of nosocomial infections is that healthcare professionals come into contact with patients without adequately or properly disinfecting their hands. Measures such as personnel training and warning posters are not sufficient to prevent this situation and to ensure that they wash their hands or use disinfectants in accordance with strict regulations. Behavioral patterns to prevent spreading the infections are summarized as hand hygiene protocol, and compliance with this protocol is paramount in prevention.
Overall hand hygiene compliance varies between 20-60% in intensive care units for most hospitals. Furthermore, studies show that an increase (from 48% to 66%) in hand hygiene compliance results in a significant reduction (from 16.9 to 9.9%) of infection rates. Therefore, an improvement at behavior level seems one of the most practical solution to the problem.

COSA is a solution that aims to increase hand hygiene compliance in accordance with the World Health Organization's recommendations for hand hygiene to prevent nosocomial infections. It is a technology and business idea that aims to prevent hand-transmitted infections by increasing the compliance of health personnel with the hand hygiene protocol up to more than 90%. In the first stage, the system is planned to be implemented in neonatal intensive care units where this problem is more critical. The neonatal intensive care unit as a whole, baby incubator zones and water tap zones will be monitored by cameras and other sensors. Via advanced image processing techniques and complementary sensor technologies our system will follow the staff working in the unit and will control the hand washing and disinfecting agent usage. Personnel will be informed and warned from the screens around the incubators, water taps and thus will be directed to act in accordance with the hand hygiene protocol. Notification will be made if the protocol is not followed. Statistical data will also be produced and reported through the compliance metrics.
Within the context of COSA SME Phase 1 project, we carried out 4 different works:

1. We have been involved in a 4-month business development and mentoring program for the health sector which was organized by the Technology Development Foundation of Turkey. We evaluated COSA with experts from the health sector in terms of business development, investment, domestic and foreign markets, marketing, socio-economic impact, medical certification and many more facets. At the end of the program, COSA was chosen by the foundation jury to be among the final 5 (out of 75) business ideas to be supported.

2. We carried out studies to define clinical studies, COSA technology components and protocol to increase hand hygiene compliance together with the infection committee doctors and neonatal unit staff of Turkey's largest public hospital, Pendik Training and Research Hospital. In the coming period, the first prototype of our system will be put into operation in the neonatal care unit of the hospital. After the process of ethics committee authorization, control tests involving regular surveillance have been carried out and baseline compliance data has been gathered.

3. With the participation of our lawyer and the mentor appointed by the European Union, we have analyzed the legal, intellectual property, freedom to operate, commercialization and business development aspects of COSA. We consulted with people in various positions in the health care industry, trying to understand the relevant aspects, therefore improving on possible business and technical methods. In addition, we have joined ISEK (Istanbul Health Industry Cluster). This enabled us to connect better with the field professionals, and do on site visits.

4. We have carried out studies for the selection of COSA technology components and for testing their technological and cost competencies and their suitability for the purpose. Keeping concerns like personal data privacy, process intrusiveness, and current applications, we developed on system design.
In order to communicate the idea of the project, we set up a mockup and shot real-time demonstration videos of the system.
The system we developed contains additional features compared to the products in the market. It can not only detect that the hands of the healthcare staff are clean or infected when they approach the bed or incubator zones, but can also follow the actions of the health personnel inside the zone and guide or alert them. For example, it can inform that the hands are infected when an electronic device on the edge of the bed or incubator is touched. Therefore, it is much more effective than the state of the art solutions in the market. It aims to help staff to fully comply with the recommendations of the World Health Organization. It is obvious that thanks to this system hand hygiene compliance can increase to a much higher degree than the existing ones.
The project aims to achieve a compliance rate of 90% or higher. Actual statistics will be available after clinical tests we are conducting in collaboration with our hospital partners. Ethical committee authorizations and installation are due second quarter of 2020.
If the results meet the expectations, health care system will benefit from reduced hospital acquired infections. This will reduce morbidity, mortality and costs associated with hospital stays. Social service, health care, insurance sectors are expected to benefit from the results.
Room level tracking
Incubator Area