Will Sherwin-Williams' 'Paint Shield' reduce hospital infections?
The new b...
U.S.-based paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams claims to have created a paint that will kill bacteria, and its main target will be hospitals.
The new brand called “Paint Shield” is believed to kill all bacteria that lands on it within about two hours. It has recently been certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for eliminating 99.9 percent of bacteria including Staph, E. coli and MRSA.
“This is one of the most significant technological breakthroughs in our nearly 150-year history of innovation,” said Sherwin-Williams CEO Chris Connor. “By killing infectious pathogens on painted surfaces, Paint Shield is a game-changing advancement in coatings technology.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — as well as the CDC — about one in 25 patients contract at least one healthcare-associated infection during their hospital stay. Not only are these infections a main cause of hospital fatalities, but are also very expensive.
Data from the CDC in 2009 revealed healthcare-associated infections cost U.S. hospitals between $28-45 billion per year in direct medical costs.
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Paint Shield was developed at Sherwin-Williams’ Cleveland, Ohio, headquarters after consulting with infectious disease specialists. It will be available in 590 different colors in over 4,000 U.S. retail outlets in the first quarter of 2016, and is believed to be effective for up to four years.
Sherwin-Williams is the second-largest paint manufacturer in the U.S. with an 11.3 percent market share.
However, not everyone views this latest type of paint as a significant technological breakthrough. Doctor Emily Landon, the University of Chicago hospital epidemiologist, isn’t certain the product will have a major effect in medical centers.
Landon is currently the head of limiting the spread of infections at the hospital, and wants to see more research on the effectiveness of reducing infections before becoming an advocate of Paint Shield.
“Bacteria don’t jump off of walls, and the only way it can get from walls to patients in from contaminated health care provider hands,” said Landon. “In a daycare center or a pediatrician waiting room, where you’ve got kids running around with snotty noses all the time, it may be helpful to have fewer bacteria on the wall. But that really remains to be seen.”
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Birdie aims to reinvent elderly care with tech
British startup Birdie has announced it has raised £8.2 million to invest in innovation and scale up the business.
The company's announcement is timely as it follows the criticism of the UK government over their lack of a plan for social care, despite acknowledging the sector is in crisis - around a quarter of the UK's home care providers are on the brink of bankruptcy due to a lack of funds and staffing.
Birdie was born with a mission to "radically improve the lives of millions of older adults", by using app-based solutions, IoT and machine learning to put preventative care at the forefront. The company was founded by Max Parmentier, after experiencing his own frustrations with the care system - his grandfather struggled with the impact of life in a care home, but lacked any other option.
In 2017 Parmentier partnered with venture builder Kamet Ventures to set up Birdie, in a bid to fix this problem. Since then, Birdie has partnered with almost 500 providers across the UK, and supports more than 20,000 older people every week. In the past 12 months alone the number of people Birdie supports has got six times greater.
Birdie’s solution is an app to help care providers deliver more coordinated, personalised and preventative care, by giving them access to digital assessments, medication scheduling and planning tools. By using digital tools to take care of admin, staff have more time to spend with their care recipients.
The new investment will be used to fund Birdie’s next phase of growth in the UK, as the company scales to meet the rapidly growing demand of the aging population. The company will also invest in product innovation, creating new features to address customer requests.
In addition, Birdie is piloting new care models, including partnering with the NHS to identify COVID-19 symptoms, building predictive pharmacy models with AI, and helping health authorities to detect early warning signs of patients’ health risks.
Internally, Birdie is committed to having a progressive company ethos. All salaries are transparent, and staff work asynchronously to maximise flexibility and equity. Staff members also volunteer in their local community during office hours, and the company offsets all its emissions.
These efforts have led to numerous awards, including having the best SME culture in the UK, an Honorable Mention in the Health category of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, and innovation in care at the LangBuisson awards.
“We believe the future of care for older people should be helping them to live at home for as long as possible through the delivery of personalised and preventative care" Parmentier said.
"Birdie is already the partner of choice for caregivers up and down the UK, and this new funding will help us rapidly increase the number we partner with and what we can offer them - meaning more people benefiting from more affordable, quality care. We’re proud of our mission and the values we embody to pursue it.”