Stethoscope Sanitation Device Design to Reduce Hospital Acquired Infections
Student Team: SaniScope
Matthew Brown, MD, Emory Healthcare
Stethoscopes are used by nearly all healthcare personnel, but there is currently no set protocol for stethoscope sanitation. Stethoscopes can potentially transmit infections from patient to patient, known as Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI’s), which costs hospitals in the US between $28 billion to $45 billion annually and results in approximately 90,000 patient deaths. After generating 100 design concepts for this problem statement and getting feedback from peers and our sponsor, Dr. Brown, we developed a wall-mounted automated sprayer. This machine is intended to be mounted outside of every patient room and integrate into the “foam in, foam out” protocol. The healthcare provider will insert their stethoscope chestpiece, breaking an infrared beam, which triggers the spray of isopropyl alcohol (IPA). Conducted research finds that this innovation provides the opportunity for approximately 68 million chances for stethoscope sanitation every day in the United States. Additionally, our product has potential to be used by all healthcare providers including physicians, nurses, EMT’s, and students in the healthcare field. Focusing on stethoscope use in the hospital setting, our product will address the needs of our users which are not currently being met with Sani-Cloth wipes. Moving forward, a full scale prototype needs to be developed and brought to users for feedback, along with efficacy testing through ASTM standard bacterial culturing. We have previously performed patentability and freedom to operate analysis. Our device is novel in its orientation, ability to clean both sides of the stethoscope as well as the initial portion of the tubing, and automatic operations, as nothing like it has ever been described or implemented before, our design can be patented.
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