Health & Productivity in the Digital Economy; 31 May 2016 (15:45-17:15)
Talk Together – Hand in Scan; 1 June 2016 (9:00-9:45)

For our first talk in the "Hungarian faces at the OECD Forum" interview series we spoke to Mr. Tamás Haidegger.

  • Do have all technological innovations positive effects in the healthcare system, or is here "a guiding hand" needed?

Technology is not evil. Its effects depend on the way we employ it. As long as skilled and smart people create the legal and practical environment to benefit the most of the technology environment, there is not much to worry about. However, there are some rising ethical questions we need to face: the skyrocketing costs of novel technologies in healthcare prevent even the richest nations to provide all available solutions to everyone on an equal bases. This means, the richer get access to better healthcare, and the difference in the patient outcome, life expectancy and so is becoming striking. We have to handle this problem on a global scale.

  • How could cutting-edge technologies and innovations, such as your invention the Hand in Scan, influence people’s quality of life?

Our mission is to effectively reduce healthcare-associated infections, and to eradicate contamination incidents at high-risk industrial procedures.
Hospitals are losing the fight against nosocomial infections that affect 1.4 million people per day, and killing 100,000 in the US annually. We aim to reduce Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) by 30%, saving patient lives and hospital treatment costs. Alcohol-based hand rubs are recognized as the most effective tool to prevent HAI, therefore these became a standard and a European Norm. Similarly, contamination of complete fermentors or food manufacturing lines cause millions of lost dollars every year. Publications has shown that in 89% of the cases the improper hand disinfection is the source of the problem. Furthermore, every year, thousands of people’s vacation is spoiled when norovirus hits a cruise liner, forcing it to stay in quarantine for days. The importance of adequate hand hygiene has been advocated by many international organizations, including the WHO.

Our innovation, the new hand hygiene control system – Semmelweis Scanner – can significantly reduce HAI and contamination risks. Our technology has the unique capability to provide measurable and real-time feedback on the efficacy of hand hygiene. Employing ultraviolet light and digital imaging, the system highlights disinfected versus unaffected areas after regular hand rubbing. With technology-aided education and objective verification, our solution can significantly reduce infections, and provide an integrated quality assurance concept for clean manufacturing sites.

  • What do you expect from the OECD Forum and the numerous panel debates (Idea Factory – The Digital World & the Future of Work, Talk Together – Hand in Scan, Health & Productivity in the Digital Economy) in which you will participate?

The OECD Forum brings together powerful and talented people from a wide range of disciplines from politics to engineering. All these creative minds are focusing on sharing: for these days, it is all about generating and communicating ideas, opinions and strategies. This is a most inspiring environment to be in, becoming part of society-level dialogs that will well share our imminent future. The central theme of the Forum is about innovation, growth and the society addressing numerous key issues affecting our lives. In Paris, we can expect to hear some answers as well to the most pressing challenges of our time. 

Short bio

Dr. Tamás Haidegger is the co-founder and CEO of HandInScan, which focuses on objective hand hygiene control in the medical environment. HandInScan works in co-operation with Semmelweis University, the University Hospital Geneva and the World Health Organization. Dr. Haidegger received his M.Sc. degrees from Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. His PhD thesis (2011) was based on a neurosurgical robot he helped develop when he was a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University (USA). His main field of research is control/teleoperation of surgical robots, image-guided therapy and supportive medical technologies. He is currently an associate professor at the Óbuda University, serving as the deputy director of the Antal Bejczy Center for Intelligent Robotics. He is also a research area manager at the Austrian Center for Medical Innovation and Technology (ACMIT), working on minimally invasive surgical simulation and training, medical robotics and usability/workflow assessment through ontologies.