Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Giving cleanliness a hand

A new hand-cleaning system in hospitals has been proven to decrease bacteria, prevent cross-contamination and save lives. The technology could reshape clinical protocols in Europe and elsewhere.
Giving cleanliness a hand
Cross-contamination in hospitals is a key hazard that has helped spread viruses and bacteria, causing unnecessary deaths in numerous cases. The EU-funded project Cleanhand devised practical, eco-friendly technology to avoid cross-contamination in the healthcare sector.

The project designed and built prototype equipment based on a low-pressure fluid spraying system that covers the hands evenly and completely with disinfectant fluid. The system boasts several ingenious features, such as reusing empty refills for the disposal of fluid and wireless radio frequency identification technology that helps activate the equipment.

In addition, the machine can also detect jewellery on the hands of the staff member, prompting him or her with a warning to remove it. High-tech features such as user login and wireless reporting also enable hospital management staff to keep track of usage and adherence to hygiene standards. The technology is housed in an industrially designed case that withstands constant use in clinical settings.

After rigorous testing that successfully passed the European EN-1500 'hygienic hand rub' test, the system demonstrated 37 % less bacteria on users' hands compared to other methods. The cost of mass producing the equipment proved to be very competitive, potentially saving large amounts of money and, more importantly, an estimated 10,000 lives annually. The project results have been disseminated to stakeholders, with strong hopes that the technology will be effectively exploited in the near future.

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