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HandMate – Re-thinking hand desinfection in hospitals

Infections caused by hospitalisation is a global problem that results in increasing illness, duration of hospitalization and in worst case scenarios; death. The potential in reducing the number of infections is enormous. In Europe approximately 4.5 million infections are reported a year, and in Denmark infections arise in 8% of all patients at an estimated cost of 1-2 billion.

Good hand hygiene is the most important factor to prevent infections, so to turn this development around, OUH and the section for LEAN and Innovation is participating in a project to develop an intelligent robot that can improve hand hygiene in hospitals.

The project team has already created the first prototype and the preliminary tests show that the robot disperses the disinfectant more efficiently on hands and fingers than existing methods:

 Robot til hånddesinfektion

The project

The work started in September 2012 and ran until September 2013. The goal was to finish the robot prototype and test and document the effect through clinical trials and analysis (HTA). In June 2013 the robot was tested for three days in the staff cafeteria at Odense University Hospital to collect data on the functionality of the robot prototype. The data from the tests was used in the further development toward a market ready robot.

By the fall of 2013 the robot had been tested and evaluated with such positive results that the three entrepreneurs behind the idea decided to establish a private company to continue working on the project. The company is called Wellfaremedico and the robot was dubbed HandMate.
The Region of Southern Denmark is still supporting the development through the regional growth forum funds in a Public-Private-Partnership with Wellfaremedico.
Read more and see photos of the current version of the robot on their website: http://wellfaremedico.com/


About the robot

The robot consists of an automated dosage system with a number of spray vaporizers. The robot uses a disposable bag of hand sanitizer that is easily replaced and connected to the system. The robot is sensor-controlled and thus touch-free. When hands are placed in the robot ‘mouth’ it is registered by the sensor which then activates the pump to the spray nozzles (see illustration). The spray vaporizers ensure that the disinfectant is distributed evenly on all surfaces of hands and wrists in accordance with the approved hygiene guidelines. With the new robot a high level of hygiene is obtained and a vast array of possibilities for motivating the staff to modify their behaviour and increase the frequency of hand disinfection arise, as the perspectives for connecting the robot to intelligent systems are great. As an example the robot could be connected to doors, so that they only open once the hands have been cleaned. A chip in the robot connected to staff ID cards could register the frequency of use and give warnings, serve as a means of evaluation of use or to create friendly competition in the staff group – the person who has the most registered use in the department gets a price etc..


The role of OUH in the project

OUH contributed to the project with project management, testing the robot in clinical settings, involving personnel in the Department of Clinical Microbiology in the analysis and evaluation of the efficiency of the robot and the overall evaluation in the form of an HTA by the Department of Quality and Research/HTA.
OUH has received 375,000 Danish kroner for the project out of the collected budget of approx. 1.4 million DKR. The majority of the project funding was for technical development and production of the prototype. The funding came from the regional Public-Private Innovation fund for commercialisation of PPI-projects to stimulate regional business and initiatives.

Other partners in the project were: CUC Engineering A/S (project leader), Plum A/S, Kolding School of Design, Lillebælt Hospital – Vejle Sygehus and University of Southern Denmark.



Rikke Lyngholm (3)

Rikke Lyngholm Hansen-Christensen
Innovation consultant

(+45)2462 9727


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