Hospital infections are a serious issue. Infections cause hundreds of deaths each week.

GVSU students have been working with a Michigan-based company to develop a device to ensure health care workers keep their hands sanitized.

Grand Valley State University says they are working with Sterilogy, located in Bloomfield Hills, to develop a hand sanitizing system for nurses, doctors and other health care workers who come in direct contact with patients. The goal is to reduce hospital infections.

Hal Zaima, president of Sterilogy, says, "Every day, about 250 people across the country die from hospital infections, and over half of infections are caused by direct contact."

The devices aim to help prevent the possibility of health care workers forgetting to sanitize their hands. It's a simple idea, but one that could save lives.

Health care workers wear personal sanitizer units that dispense foam sanitizer. A zone alert emitter unit is attached to a patient's bed and communicates with the device being worn by the health care worker to remind them to sanitize. A base station unit is placed at a central location to upload data from the devices.

The system could also be a time-saver if there are multiple patients in a room by avoiding the need to head back and forth to a sanitizing station.

Getting reminded to sanitize each time a health care worker approaches a patient could be an annoying inconvenience, but if it helps eliminate the potential for forgetting to sanitize hands and lowers the risk of infection, it's something I hope we soon see become standard practice.

Several hospitals in the Detroit area are interested in beta testing the new system.