Smart door handle helps combat hospital superbugs

PullClean, an innovative door handle that sanitises your hands, triples the rate of hand sanitisation rates and provides feedback on usage through a monitoring system, has been launched in the UK. 

The smart door handle sanitises hands, triples the rate of hand sanitisation rates and provides feedback on usage through a monitoring system – image courtesy of Altitude Medical.

The smart door handle was invented by Altitude Medical UK co-founders, Dr Alex Oshmyanksy and Dr Jake McKnight, when they were students at the University of Oxford.

PullClean encourages people to clean their hands every time they enter and exit a room, making hand hygiene simple and trackable.

PullClean was developed to reduce the spread of viruses and infections in any high-footfall setting including hospitals, care homes, schools and universities, as well as leisure and hospitality venues such as hotels, restaurants, shopping centres and airports.

Its simple design features a tube-shaped cartridge placed in the centre of a hollow door handle, which releases a small amount of sanitiser when a blue paddle button is pressed.

The handles also leverage smart monitoring technologies. Each one includes a monitoring system that records a variety of data, from how much sanitiser is left in the handle and when the cartridge should next be changed, to hourly usage stats compared to how frequently doors are opened.

While clean hands can dramatically reduce the spread of germs and infections, one of the biggest obstacles is getting people to use sanitiser regularly, because even with multiple wall-mounted dispensers, they simply forget.

A pilot trial of a prototype of PullClean in the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Centre in the US, saw the rate of hand sanitation rise from 24% to 77 % after it was installed.

PullClean encourages people to clean their hands, simply by placing the sanitiser in a more direct position and replacing two separate actions (sanitising and then opening a door) into one seamless movement.

By increasing hand sanitisation rates, it intends to help organisations protect patients, customers and staff through reduced incidence of infections. This will not only potentially save lives, but will also reduce the likelihood of customer and patient complaints or lawsuits and damaged reputation, as well as reducing the incidence of staff sickness

Dr Jake McKnight, co-inventor of the breakthrough device and General Manager at Altitude Medical UK explained: “It’s a small step to press a button when you’re already holding the handle anyway. The irony is that handles are usually a big transmitter of bugs, but PullClean can help stop them in their tracks and drive down unnecessary, expensive and harmful infections.”