Nosocomial infections continue to constitute a major health threat for both patients and caregivers. A French startup, MediHandTrace, intends to fight back with computer chips and radio waves.
We interviewed company general manager Francine Lanceleur-Brenning to find out more.
MedicalExpo e-Magazine: How did MediHandTrace get started?
Francine Lanceleur-Brenning: The startup was launched in 2015, but grew out of a consortium created in 2009 by medical personnel. Right from the planning stage, we chose to include sector professionals.
The idea came from a nosocomial infection our director had 10 years ago. Around that time WHO issued its five recommendations for hand hygiene.
ME e-Magazine: How do you ensure proper hand hygiene?
Francine Lanceleur-Brenning: Our MHT Fixe solution consists of a floor antenna linked to a connected hydroalcoholic solution (HAS) dispenser. It also includes RFID chips beneath the door and not just in the caregivers’ shoes. This provides continuous tracking of what’s going on—whether the dispenser is used at each entry and exit.
This also reassures the patient. We can install audio and visual warning systems informing the patient as to whether or not people entering the room used the hydroalcoholic solution.
ME e-Magazine: How have caregivers reacted? The chips in their shoes must make them feel as if they’re under surveillance.
Francine Lanceleur-Brenning: That’s already the case. Today, most caregivers already wear tracking badges. We’re starting from the assumption that the situation is bad.. When I visit a hospital, 90% of the HAS dispensers I check at random are empty. The software that centralizes chip information can also make it anonymous. However, by displaying overall results at the nurse’s station, we found that they checked to see if they were doing better than the doctors.
After six months, some nurses contacted us to ask for individual feedback. We answered with congratulatory SMS texts or suggestions for improvement, but without individual use rates.
ME e-Magazine: After initial trials in France, you installed your system in other countries. What’s been the response?
Francine Lanceleur-Brenning: Our solution is more readily accepted in northern Europe—in Sweden and Germany—than elsewhere. They saw that it enabled them to demonstrate compliance and to determine if something more needed to be done. In Lebanon, our solution will be used to promote medical tourism.