First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Nancy Carleton: Personally, I am an American ex-pat living in Denmark, so my family is far away in Portland, Oregon, and facing some of the worst global conditions of the COVID19 crisis. They are in a second stay-at-home quarantine, and at the time that I am sharing this, over 150,000 daily infection cases are occurring in the US, and I know people who we have lost. I am sad to know many friends that are sick with this horrendous virus; several are healthcare workers that in their essential service to others, found themselves in a personal fight. This is part of the reason that with my Marketing background, I wanted to be involved in a company like Sani nudge where I could focus on doing good work in hand hygiene and healthcare to help reduce the spread of infections.
Our Sani nudge work-family sees a lot of opportunities during COVID19 to make a difference. Our company was started in 2015 to improve hand hygiene, and there is no question that 2020 is the year where Hand Hygiene made a global impact on being a tool to save lives.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Sani nudge.
Nancy Carleton: Our co-founders, CEO Theis Jensen, an engineer and champion for better hygiene, our CTO Morten T. Egholm, the creator of our hand hygiene solution, a brilliant mind and motivated leader, and our Medical Director Dr. Marco Bo Hansen, a global expert in hand hygiene are 100% dedicated to improving our current healthcare system’s approach to hygiene.
In 2015, Theis and Morten received a call from Anne-Mette Iversen, a passionate clinical nurse at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, who, despite all of the recommended efforts to improve her team’s hand hygiene, found that their improvement work was falling short. She had heard that there were technological, behavioral techniques that may make a difference, and so she was introduced to the team of innovators, and Sani nudge was formed. Now Sani nudge is in six countries and has thousands of users.
I personally joined the company when my Honeymoon travel plans to run a marathon in Antarctica (ten years in the works) was cancelled due to COVID19. I was a bit lost with how I could process what was going on in the world and when I discovered Sani nudge and the work they were doing in healthcare and contract tracing for COVID19, I knew this was a company that could be a difference-maker.
How does Sani nudge innovate?
Nancy Carleton: Our company is connected, and that is how we innovate. We keep a pulse on the healthcare industry and where their needs are. We stay involved with other companies with like-minded people and share best practices. We participate in organizations like Health Tech Hub Denmark, EIT Health, partnering with colleges like the Technical University of Denmark and University Hospitals. We have a strong advisory board of expert leaders and work with clinical groups to constantly be validated and scientifically relevant. And debatably most important, we hire passionate people eager to make a difference.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Nancy Carleton: COVID19, while being detrimental to other businesses, has put a focus on hand hygiene in healthcare, and so we are getting a lot of attention.
A bigger consideration is that we want hand hygiene to remain a global priority to better be prepared for the next healthcare crisis, which is inevitable. We are huge proponents of drawing public attention to the threat of antimicrobial resistance, which the World Health Organization deems as one of the top ten global threats to humanity and states, “By 2050 – if effective interventions against antimicrobial resistance are not made – 10 million deaths and an economic loss of US$ 100 trillion may occur annually as the result of such resistance.” Hand hygiene is deemed the number one tool to combatting this.
Our team, of course, had to adapt to more remote working conditions and safety needs when implementing in high-risk hospitals, but we ultimately are stronger for our management of these changes and are an exception to the more notable impacts to the business of COVID19.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Nancy Carleton: Because COVID 19 has brought our solution more to the spotlight, our biggest lesson is in strategically planning for scalability in our organization. As we grow, processes and systems have to accommodate our changing users and our highly relevant distribution partners.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Nancy Carleton: Personally, I deal with stress and anxiety through the building and maintaining relationships. I am the definition of an extrovert and need people to recharge my battery, which means I am balancing being socially responsible in the time of COVID19 to finding unique ways to stay connected to people. Shipping craft beer to friends and having online beer tasting, making slack messages to colleagues more fun and personable, and generally reaching out via traditional messages like sending letters and porch presents.
Our company has a great approach to dealing with stress and anxiety. We acknowledge team members making a difference daily. We have a weekly Friday evening safe gathering to celebrate the week’s accomplishments, check-in with each other, and make sure that the workload stays more balanced.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nancy Carleton: There are other healthcare hand hygiene solutions on the market. They tout themselves as being monitoring services. We prefer to think of ourselves as anonymous data providers. We believe that we are relevant and unique because we measure patient contact using the WHO guidelines known as the “5 moments of hand hygiene”. We survey our partners and our customers to constantly keep a pulse on the industry and constantly optimize our technology, user experience, and solutions to meet changing needs.
Your final thoughts?
Nancy Carleton: Please wash your hands. It is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself and your community.
About our system
Sani nudge’s hygiene technology generates live data using nudging, a technique that activates behavior, in our case using built-in lights, ensuring that employees have a greater focus on performing hand hygiene. This technology is proven to improve hand hygiene compliance at all levels of a medical organization.
Each employee wears a small ID that is recorded by sensors installed alcohol or soap. Each sensor has built-in light (nudging) that ensures that employees have a greater focus on performing hand hygiene on sanitizing dispensers and sensors adjacent to each patient best. Within a defined distance and by detecting movements, the SN system determines whether the employee has been inpatient contact, and based on hygiene guidelines, reports the compliance department of a given area, often a department or ward given time.
Hygiene managers can easily monitor whether the department follows the hygiene guidelines via a dashboard on a website and see if there is an improvement or worsening seen over a given period. All data is generated using an ID, so it will also be possible to monitor whether there is better compliance with the guidelines at some times of the day than others.
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