SwipeSense raises $1.7M for connected hand hygiene dispensers in hospitals

By Aditi Pai
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SwipeSenseEvanston, Illinois-based SwipeSense, which is developing a smart hand hygiene sensor, raised $1.7 million, according to an SEC filing. This brings the company's total funding to at least $2.5 million to date.

SwipeSense is a graduate of the accelerator Healthbox's first class, which was announced in December 2011. Healthbox helped fund SwipeSense's first round.

The company aims to eliminate dependency on hand hygiene campaigns that healthcare providers use to stay compliant with Joint Commission requirements. SwipeSense also intends for the app to provide location-specific reports to correlate hand hygiene data with infection outbreaks. According to the website, The average cost to a hospital for a hospital-acquired infection is $15,275.

SwipeSense offers different kinds of sanitizer dispensers, including a wall-mounted version and a portable version. The sanitizers are all connected to an app that automates the manual observation reporting and also analyzes the information. Users can view individual compliance levels, unit comparisons, and historical trends through the app.

Companies have been tackling hand hygiene for years. 

In July 2010, Proventix Systems, a hand hygiene compliance monitoring company, announced a deal with machine-to-machine wireless vendor Synapse Wireless to add wireless connectivity to Proventix’s nGage system, which also aims to fight the spread of healthcare acquired infections (HAIs). The Proventix nGage system monitors hand hygiene compliance by asking healthcare professionals to wear ZigBee-enabled badges that are uniquely recognized by control units at soap dispensers throughout the hospital. When the worker entered a room or area where there is a wall-mounted control unit, they were recognized and, upon the completion of a quality hand hygiene event, they were given important, patient-specific information.

CIMIT, a consortium of hospitals and engineering schools in the Boston area, spun out the company HanGenix in October 2010. The startup’s technology automatically detects when a care provider uses a soap or alcohol gel dispenser and if they approach a patient’s bed without washing or sanitizing their hands. If a care provider fails to wash their hands before a patient interaction, the system emits an audible beep as a reminder.