Hospital-acquired infections are both dangerous for patients and a burden for health care systems, but a new generation of robots offer hope for at least a partial solution. Recent studies have shown that products from companies including Xenex Disinfection Services can effectively reduce the spread of infection using ultraviolet light.
Two medical technology companies are hoping to uncover further innovations in this area by sponsoring a worldwide search for medical inventions that specifically address patient infections within health care environments.
Indiana-based Hill-Rom and Edison Nation Medical, which was formed last year to stimulate innovations in health care, are seeking ideas from health care providers and the public for new products or improvements to existing ones. Ideas may be submitted through Edison Nation Medical’s confidential portal now through Nov. 18.
The best ideas will be designed, developed and licensed by Edison Nation Medical, which will split royalties with the inventor. Hill-Rom will work to commercialize the technology and potentially use other submitted ideas to supplement internal product development efforts.
The companies note that despite strict procedural recommendations for health care facilities, which include hand-washing protocols and thorough cleaning of medical devices, it is estimated that one in every 20 hospitalized patients contracts an infection. They cite a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistic from a 2010 New York Times article that says roughly 1.7 million patients contract health care-associated infections annually resulting in 99,000 deaths. They also reference a 2009 CDC study that says the annual direct cost to U.S. hospitals to treat hospital-acquired infections ranges from $28 billion to $45 billion.
While ideas don’t necessarily have to be robotics-based, any and all roboticists are encouraged to submit solutions.
[ image courtesy of AJ Cann / Flickr ]