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Method and Apparatus for "Smart" Sanitation in High-Risk Environments

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000198603D
Publication Date: 2010-Aug-10
Document File: 3 page(s) / 59K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Described is a system that combines sensor technology, macro modeling, risk analysis, and decision support system technology to develop smart sanitation plans in high-risk facilities. Sensors are utilized throughout high risk facilities to track movement within the facility and are intelligently leveraged to create sanitation plans.

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Hospitals and other high-risk facilities have limited cleaning staff with limited time and resource. Given the limited resource, decisions must be made pertaining to how a high-risk facility is sanitized. Currently, facilities may have a general cleaning plan and/or may perform ad hoc sanitization when it is obviously needed. However, a "smart" systematic approach for high-risk facility sanitization does not exist today.

    An audit report prepared by Audit Scotland stated: "One key risk to the quality of cleaning is the staff time available. This review examines how often a task should be carried out (cleaning frequency) and how many staff hours are spent on cleaning tasks and monitoring. It also looks at risks to maintaining the required level of staffing, particularly staff turnover, sickness absence, and recruitment difficulties. These shortfalls mean that tasks are carried out as often as planned but with less staff time. The quality of cleaning may be compromised because of a lack of time, cover provided by relief staff unfamiliar with the area, or supervisors undertaking cleaning tasks at the expense of supervising and monitoring. Almost a quarter of hospitals reported that, on occasion, staff shortages meant that monitoring was not taking place as planned." [*]

    The disclosed system helps high-risk facilities target areas that have a higher potential risk for contamination. This allows cleaning staff to focus cleaning efforts using a "smart" and calculated methodology.

    By combining sensor technology, macro modeling, risk analysis, and decision support system technology to develop smart sanitation plans in high-risk facilities, this article proposes introducing sensors throughout high-risk facilities to track movement within the facility. The sensors could be, but are not limited to, motion sensors, infrared sensors, pressure sensors, or even cameras with motion/image detectors. As staff and customers (patients) pass by the sensors, a counter is incremented and the data is stored for analysis.

    The facility would likely be partitioned into zones (i.e., floors, wards, etc). Each zone would have an assigned risk value calculated using modeling techniques that are typically used to determine the spread of disease at a larger scale based on factors such as number of patients in the zone, type of illnesses, etc. A risk report could be created using the data collected. The report would contain an overall risk value by zone, or area within a zone, which would help cleaning staff and sanitation workers target the highest risk areas.

    Although simplistic, the following example provides insight into a primitive implementation: An overall risk value could be calculated by multiplying the number of times a sensor has detected movement by the number of patients in the zone containing the area multiplied by the partition risk value (i.e., area penetrated 10 times * 5 patients on the floor * 3 risk value based on a contagious disease o...