(Photo: iStock)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health workers in 20 countries have up to nine accidents per year related to injuries from needles used in hospitals and clinics.

Some of the diseases that can be transmitted in these accidents include HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C. According to this organization, the latter disease causes 399,000 deaths per year around the world.

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Desharp offers an alternative. It’s an internet-connected device that enables health workers to dispose of hazardous medical waste such as needles and scalpels safely.

Víctor Tapia, Director of Desharp, explains that the needles placed in this small device are shredded and disinfected with a sanitizing nanofoam and ultraviolet light, then stored in a small container with capacity for 600 milliliters.

Tapia calculates that health professionals can dispose of needles for up to 16 years before changing one of the Desharp containers.

“By adding traceability through internet networking, I can find out what has happened to each piece of medical waste. I don’t want to play down its environmental importance, but Desharp exists for biosafety reasons,” explains the director.

The benefits of this device are threefold: it saves on costs for collecting medical waste such as needles and scalpels, it provides more safety for health workers, and it prepares the waste for reuse.

More safety

“Biosafety accidents occur because nurses can get infected from needlestick injuries. When sharp objects end up in this (plastic waste) bin, there’s a chance of them being reused,” explains Tapia.

Around the world, reusing used needles has caused mass infections.

Since the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic began, telephony and internet companies have received more requests from entrepreneurs who want their devices to be connected to the internet so as to obtain usage metrics.

“I have companies with thermographic camera solutions that are placed at the entrances of buildings and airports for taking people’s temperature. There are also companies with internet-connected coolers for transporting vaccines and antibiotics, which are in the process of being certified for organ transportation. We also have companies with bracelets that monitor all of your vital signs,” says Borja de Checa, Partner Solutions Director at AT&T Mexico, about some of the solutions he shares with Tec Review.

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De Checa explains that 50% of the health innovations requesting connectivity with this U.S. telecommunications company have emerged during this quarantine.

Both experts believe that the digitalization of health processes, such as medical files in public services and video consultations, are aspects that should be adopted soon, but which chiefly require investment from the government.

“Today, we’re dealing with Covid-19, but tomorrow we’re going to be dealing with another virus. What we have to do is raise awareness in public and private health systems that investment in technology within medical centers is very important, both for operating and reducing their costs and for the patients, so as not to put them at risk and only have them in the hospital for the amount of time that is strictly necessary,” emphasizes De Checa.

Although there are already other devices that destroy needles on the market, they do not have Desharp’s traceability. Connecting devices to the internet is known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

To date, Tapia has purchase intentions for 53,000 of these IoT devices from different customers.

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