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Innovations to increase patient safety in healthcare

The newly launched project Clean Care addresses the urgent need to minimise healthcare-associated infections (HAI) and reduce the risk of spreading antimicrobial resistant microbes (AMR) within healthcare settings.

The project will tackle the challenge through innovative solutions for hygienic design, AMR-effective decontamination technologies, improved air quality and cleanliness control as well as enhanced monitoring systems for HAI, facilitating systematic follow-up on quality of care and patient outcome.

Urgent need for new solutions

Clean Care is coordinated by RISE, Research Institute of Sweden, an independent state research institute in the field of innovation.

“The interest in the project has been great, from both industry and healthcare, and we are now looking forward to evaluating our innovative solutions to reduce healthcareassociated infections in clinical settings. Furthermore, it will also be interesting to follow the business development in the industrial sectors,” says project leader Josefin Seth Caous at RISE.

Partners in the project like LifeClean, LED Tailor, BioThema and Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center at Karolinska Institutet will evaluate innovative technologies for surface disinfection and quality control, while Arjo, Cellcomb and Tobii, together with Halmstad University, will focus on hygienic design, user studies and business model innovation. Getinge and Toul Meditech, together with Sahlgrenska University Hospital, will conduct a clinical study in which the goal is to optimize air quality in the operating room as well as systematic quality control and follow-up of environment in the operating room and surgical site infections of treated patients.

“A surveillance system that monitors environmental factors and patient data during every surgery and generates intelligent data for followup would greatly facilitate the hospitals quality work,” says Henrik Malchau head of Department of Orthopedics.

Important to prevent healthcare-associated infections

A HAI is, according to the National Board of Health and Welfare, “An infection that develops in a hospitalized person or as a result of an intervention in the form of diagnostics, treatment or care within other health and social care services, or an infection that staff working within health and social care develop as a result of their occupational duties.”

HAI is the most common healthcare-related injury in Swedish hospitals.

Recurring surveys show that approximately 9 percent of hospitalized patients have some sort of HAI. This causes patient suffering, extended nursing time as well as increased costs. HAI is a problem within healthcare e.g. hospitals, as well as in municipal care and long-term care facilities e.g. nursing homes. To prevent patients from getting HAI, work to support the hospital staff in maintaining sufficient healthcare hygiene is a crucial factor.

“The Department of Infection Prevention and Control at Sahlgrenska University Hospital aims to support the development of new HAI-preventive products as well as solutions that will increase adherence to infection prevention and control practices,” says head of the department Christina Welinder-Olsson.


Clean Care project

The Clean Care project was initiated in May 2018 and will be completed in August 2020.

Vinnova funds the project within the program Challenge Driven Innovation.
The project has a budget of 22,5 MSEK.

The objective of the project is to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections and spreading of antibiotic resistant bacteria in healthcare establishments, through (1) understanding of origin and pathways, (2) breaking these pathways, (3) verifying consequences, and (4) disseminating knowledge and increasing national and international cooperation.

The project is coordinated by RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden.