CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hill-Rom and Edison Nation Medical have formed a partnership to conduct a worldwide search for medical invention ideas to address patient infections that occur within healthcare environments. Hill-Rom and Edison Nation Medical are seeking ideas from healthcare providers and the public for new products, or improvements to existing ones, that decrease the rate of infection among the millions of patients who receive inpatient or outpatient care each year.
Ideas may be submitted through Edison Nation Medical’s confidential portal now through Nov. 18. The best ideas will be designed, developed and licensed by Edison Nation Medical, which then splits royalties with the successful inventor(s). Hill-Rom will work with Edison Nation Medical to commercialize relevant concepts and will review the remaining ideas as options to potentially supplement the company’s internal product and technology development efforts.
With a legacy of more than 80 years of leading innovation in the patient care environment, Hill-Rom develops products and services that address a range of patient and caregiver needs, including the early mobilization and safe transfer of patients, tools to automate clinical workflow and improve safety and efficiency, technologies for wound care and prevention. Earlier this year, Hill-Rom introduced a hand-hygiene monitoring system to help minimize point-of-care infections by ensuring staff compliance with hand-washing guidelines in the hospital setting.
“Minimizing point-of-care infections is critical to improving the quality of care patients receive and also reducing strain on the healthcare system overall in terms of cost and human resources,” said Brian Lawrence, chief technology officer for Hill-Rom. “Hill-Rom has made great strides in these areas recently and we’re aggressively pursuing other breakthrough technologies to further improve infection control. We are excited to partner with Edison Nation Medical to bring critical, relevant technologies into our portfolio so that we can continue to provide the best solutions for our customers.”
In order to address and control POC infections, the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued procedural recommendations for healthcare facilities, including restricting POC devices to a single patient when possible, adhering to strict hand-washing protocols and thoroughly disinfecting and cleaning any POC device or instrument. Despite these and other control methods, it is estimated that one in every 20 hospitalized patients contracts a hospital-acquired infection.
To further illustrate the number of patients impacted, a 2010 article cited CDC estimates that roughly 1.7 million patients contracted healthcare-associated infections that resulted in 99,000 deaths per year. Beyond the human toll, while there is considerable variability in the costs of HAIs, the annual direct cost to U.S. hospitals to treat HAIs ranges from $28 billion to $45 billion, according to a 2009 study.
“Our mission at Edison Nation Medical is to make a difference in healthcare, whether we improve the quality of care, increase the effectiveness of care or reduce cost; achieving all three is certainly the trifecta,” said Louis Foreman, CEO of Edison Nation Medical. “Through our search with Hill-Rom, absolutely anyone — not just health care professionals — has the chance to come up with an idea, submit it to us, have it reviewed by our product development and medical experts and, quite possibly, have it become a game-changing innovation in patient care.”
While medical invention ideas may focus on specific areas, such as reducing the spread of infection or instrument sterilization and monitoring, inventors should think as broadly as possible.
“As healthcare providers, we face numerous challenges, with risk of infections among patients being one of them,” said Dr. Jean Wright, Carolinas HealthCare System’s vice president of innovation. “We eagerly seek new ideas and innovations that result in decreased infection rates and improved patient outcomes.”