Adam Sutcliffe, Founder and CEO of Orbel, explains how the company’s wearable hand sanitisation device is encouraging good hygiene practices.
Practising good hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), which affect hundreds of millions of patients around the world each year.
However, infections, as we now know, are a problem everywhere, not just in hospital settings. Everyday activities and everyday places provide opportunities for germs to spread.
The fact that the main mechanism of transfer of infections is dirty hands is now known globally, yet people are still not cleaning their hands as often as they should because it is not typically an easy, immediate action we are able to perform.
This is why Orbel is different. It solves the accessibility challenge because it is always with you, ready to use. With one swipe, enough sanitising gel is dispensed to clean both hands. A key benefit is that it is designed to be habit forming, so the wearer uses it subconsciously.
Increasing compliance at hospitals
For US hospitals and healthcare facilities, just three words, ‘The Joint Commission,’ (TJC) can send waves of panic through the halls. Regulatory compliance is always front of mind, but never more so than during a US hospital’s Joint Commission review, a deep audit performed approximately every three years, during which third party inspections are performed of the normal daily operations of a hospital unit. Instead of focusing solely on paperwork, TJC inspectors scrutinise the delivery of care, treatments, and other services provided by staff, for example, examining Infection Control, Competence and Environment of Care. TJC’s goal is to improve standards across the healthcare industry, implementing strategies to improve safety and quality of patient care, which is one reason hospitals elect to participate in their reviews.
The most challenging part of the process perhaps, is that hospitals are provided with little advance warning of an inspection, at most, they are given a seven day notice period. It is therefore imperative that facilities have everything in order at all times.
Hospitals that have adopted Orbel have one less thing to worry about since they have implemented the Orbel hand sanitiser as a quality measure for all staff working in their facilities.
It is widely known that the World Health Organization cites the ‘five movements of hand hygiene’ as the best method for preventing healthcare-associated infections. Yet in critical situations, such as you often find in hospitals, every second counts, and hand hygiene can be overlooked. “That is what is most compelling about the Orbel,it provides a point-of-care hand hygiene tool for hospital staff that is literally at their fingertips when they need it. In hospitals, it is important to be able to focus attention on patients, not how they are going to sanitise their hands,” explains Matus Knoblich, CEO of Glo-Med, Orbel’s US distributor. “Hospitals today remain our core customer thanks to the perfect union of efficiency and effectiveness that Orbel provides.”
Restaurants, retail, hospitality and beyond
Everyone knows that hospitality and retail have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, subject to a number of restrictions around opening rules etc. The primary reason locations such as these face extra scrutiny is that governments around the world see these locations as hotbeds for the transfer of the virus.
The reason being is that there is a high concentration of people coming into close contact with one another, and quite simply, because people do not clean their hands often enough. The greater amount of people with unclean hands, the greater the chance of transmission. Bars, restaurants, cafes, hotels, offices and workshops tend to be ill prepared when it comes to preventing the spread of infections. Ordinary people (non-healthcare workers), while probably never more conscientious of germs and hand hygiene than they are now, are still not programmed to think about hand hygiene the way a hospital worker does.
In a hospital setting, healthcare workers are constantly reminded of the need to be clean. It is drummed into their psyche, yet hand hygiene compliance typically hovers around just 50% to 60%. Imagine how poor compliance will be in an environment where it has not previously been an examined issue. Even if you train your staff on the need, the benefits, and the downside of failing to do it, hand hygiene will not always be front of mind. That is the challenge that Orbel was designed to address. Orbel works just as well in any environment where people work together, whether they are serving customers, meeting clients, or just in the same space as others. In the US market, we are seeing the potential benefits of using Orbel in grocery stores, restaurants and at sporting events to name just a few.
Today, infection control is no longer relegated to the realm of hospitals. Rather, it is something that the likes of McDonald’s, Yum restaurants and even Amazon are taking very seriously. Potentially their greatest challenge is that, unlike hospitals, these environments are not normally where people’s lives are on the line. Not to mention, theirs is also a more dynamic, and multifaceted environment. These are challenges Orbel can address, as it works just as well in any environment where people are working together.
We have also seen Orbel shift into a consumer-facing product, now available on Amazon as our first retail channel, making Orbel widely available to the general population. “While hand sanitiser usage has become fairly commonplace, especially this last year, there is nothing on the market that compares to the ease of use and versatility that the Orbel wearable unit provides,” notes Knoblich, “We’re thrilled that we can now offer a direct-to-consumer option and bring more convenient hand hygiene into more environments.”
UK, EU, Middle East and beyond: Orbel distribution grows
COVID-19 infection rates are still rising throughout the world, which is why we are pushing hard to make Orbel available across the globe while also evolving the product to meet global market needs. We have been working on a number of advances over the past few months, including reducing packaging and experimenting with different gel formulations, and have also kept busy expanding into new markets and navigating the regulatory mazes in each country.
In the UK we now have not one, but four, distributors (to see our global distribution network visit the Distributors section of our website – www.orbelhealth.com). In Europe, Orbel has been granted certification in France, Germany, Norway and Sweden. We hope to soon bring a local gel to the Swiss market too.
In the Middle East, Orbel was recently granted SFDA (Saudi Federal Drugs Administration) approval which will enable us to bring Orbel to market there as well as into other Arab speaking countries that adopt the Saudi’s protocols. The Middle East faces some unique challenges in the market that we have worked hard to address as well to ensure the premium aspect of the Orbel can be maintained as we enter the market. For example, high temperatures which could negatively impact the premium gel solution. Next time you wander past the Great Pyramid, or visit Petra, perhaps your tour guide will be wearing an Orbel.
We have seen the shocking news about how COVID has torn through India, which is why we are pleased to announce partnerships with a number of Indian gel suppliers, helping them get their life saving sanitising product into, and on to, the hands of as many people as possible.
Lastly, in terms of global activity, we turn to Africa, which is set to be the most populous continent on the planet by 2050 and, at the moment, is seeing unprecedented rates of change and growth. To bring Orbel to Africa in a cost-effective manner and make it as accessible as possible, we have taken a bit of a different approach and are working with a number of businesses and NGOs to manufacture Orbel locally, fill it with a locally produced gel, and leverage existing distribution networks (not always medically focused).
Our partners Ed Holme and Sheldon Purdy in Africa had this to say about helping Africa meet the challenge of beating infection:
“To navigate the African terrain (as with anywhere), requires local knowledge, local access and the ability to translate local realities, through simple communication, into opportunities for both business success and much needed positive impact.
“Africa provides enormous potential within the entrepreneurial space and limited resources consequently translate to the limited ability to address topical issues, such as the pandemic. COVID-19 is currently devastating the continent and the weaving together of efforts by governments and corporates directed to African entrepreneurs will make a huge difference in reducing the impact of the virus. We hope to be able to leverage these resources, and this drive, to bring Orbel to market in the most scalable manner possible.”
Getting back to normal
As we start returning to a ‘normal’ way of life it is important that we maintain a healthy respect of not only COVID-19, which is likely to be with us for many years to come, but also of viruses as a whole. We have a responsibility to keep our patients, customers, staff, family and friends safe. I genuinely believe that Orbel can help do this.
If you would like to learn about how Orbel came into existence search for ‘The Orbel Story’ on YouTube.
If you have any questions about Orbel, or would like to receive some samples to trial it wherever you live/work/play, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org