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Innovative hand hygiene improving patient safety and reducing healthcare associated infections.


Dr Richard Cooke



Digital Health



Product Product

Startup opportunity

Hand hygiene is a key component to preventing the spread of germs and bacteria in hospitals. Yet still over 300,000 patients suffer from health care associated infections each year in the UK. There have been many attempts to solve this issue at an operational level by adding more sanitation units throughout hospitals.

However with no effective measurement protocol in place, compliance is near impossible to track. Hospital staff receive limited training and guidance on the subject and unsurprisingly this leads to poor management. The current baseline in the NHS with independent validations is that less than 50% of staff actually wash their hands appropriately.

Hy-genie founder, Dr Richard Cooke, came to Nova as Director of Infection Prevention & Control at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He knew that if all hospital staff were hand hygiene compliant MRSA would be eradicated from Hospitals. Hy-genie has the potential to save thousands of lives each year and the NHS an estimated £1.2bn in treatment costs annually.


Since Co-founding with Nova

  • Validated concepts, designs and prototypes with medical professionals and NHS buying teams.
  • Prototype creation of tech hardware - a smart staff ID badge, usage sensor and a centrally located base station.
  • Developed the software to record staff usage of hand hygiene stations.
  • Creation of brand, website & go to market strategy.
  • Developed ‘Hy-genie Lite’ to rapidly deploy to hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Secured trials in major UK hospitals.

Employing Nova’s lean startup methodologies we were quickly able to move through multiple product iterations to create a validated product prototype that worked for hospital staff, patients, facilities managers and the purchasing teams

The work we’d done meant we were well positioned to react to the market opportunity presented by Covid-19 and the increased focus on hand hygiene within hospital settings. Due to urgent demand we were able to deliver ‘Hy-genie lite’ within 3 months. A core product adaptation specifically targeted to tackle the spread of COVID-19 on hospital wards.

With the Hy-genie product now in hospitals and clinical trials on-going, we believe it is now only a matter of time until mainstream adoption in hospitals throughout the UK. Hy-genie is set to revolutionise hand hygiene compliance across the healthcare system.


Richard Cooke

I’m not from the startup world, I’m a medic at heart. I came to NOVA with the problem of hand-hygiene compliance in hospitals. They’ve helped me to find a solution, provided me with the technical team to build it and now are helping me to scale it into a successful, profitable business.

Richard Cooke, founder of Hy-genie


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