According to the Biomimicry Institute, biomimicry is “an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.” For example, the basis of sonar technology is whale and bat behavior that uses echolocation for navigation, and it was the prickly seed burrs from the plants which clung to his clothing and to his dog that inspired George de Mestral to create a hook and loop fastener commonly known as Velcro.
Related to improving healthcare cleaning and disinfection and thus reducing healthcare associated infections (HAIs), there is a relatively new product that takes its place in the pages of biomimicry. Sharklet is the world’s first technology to inhibit bacterial growth through pattern and is based on the analysis of shark skin which, in its natural environment, does not attract barnacles. Sharklet is a product that contains no toxic additives or chemicals, and uses no antibiotics or antimicrobials. It serves as means to reduce surface bacteria. This adhesive film technology, used in tandem with other cleaning and disinfection products and processes, can help reduce the environmental contamination in health care settings, which are a common cause of HAIs.
Participants in the Maryland Patient Safety Center’s Clean Collaborative will learn about innovative technologies and best management practices that healthcare facilities can implement to reduce HAIs. For more information and to participate in the Clean Collaborative please visit: http://www.marylandpatientsafety.org/CleanCollaborative.aspx