James Burnett, Hikma Adem, Aram Shajii, Joshua Palli
Designing a stethoscope disinfection system to combat transmission of hospital associated infections.
Our current design iteration is shown above, it consists of a main housing and a top with neodymium magnet inserts and the central disinfection system using a UVC-LED connected to a contact switch and a power supply.
Since its introduction into the medical field, the stethoscope has been a prominent piece of equipment for healthcare professionals in many different clinical backgrounds and fields of medicine. However, recent studies suggest an alarming increase in nosocomial infections, with stethoscopes being identified as major vectors for the spread of infection between differing patients. This rise in nosocomial infection rates is mainly due to a variety of problems, such as lack of time, poor accessibility to cleaning supplies, and lack of general knowledge of the stethoscope’s nature as a vector for infection. Nosocomial infections affect about 3.2% of the entire hospitalized population within the United States, which is an estimated 648,000 patients every year with 75,000 patients dying. Of these cases, the greatest vector for transmission was found to be transmission through direct contact of the doctor’s hands or devices in contact with the patient. In the case of the stethoscope, transmission mainly occurs through the diaphragm, which comes into direct contact with the patient’s body. Within high-volume clinical settings, cleaning the diaphragm of the stethoscope has become a challenge that results in a low rate of properly cleaned stethoscopes, which leads to higher rates of infection. Our device, SterileScope, is a novel and well tested, efficient disinfection device that can minimize cleaning time to 1-2 minutes, maximize the continuous sterilization of stethoscopes in clinical settings, and result in clean stethoscopes for every patient seen by healthcare professionals. Our device is highly portable, doctors can easily attach the device to their stethoscope for diaphragm cleaning while moving around the hospital freely. With a 10–12 hour active use time, our device can last for an entire hospital clinic before needing a recharge. SterileScope provides an easy, quick solution to reduce growing hospital associated infections, and promote high-sterility protocols within clinical settings.