Pasadena teen and 2023 Polytechnic School graduate, Adrian Lazzi, has launched Puriphico, a patent-pending technology with the mission of promoting a healthier world by encouraging proper handwashing in health care environments.
Washing and scrubbing of the hands for at least 20 seconds, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) prevents 50% of all hospital-acquired infections. Moreover, where hand sanitizer might not be able to kill certain harmful pathogens (such as C. Difficile), handwashing can. That’s what led Adrian, when he was only in 8th grade, to first start conceptualizing a handwashing technology to support infection prevention.
Similar to an electric toothbrush, which notifies the user after two minutes have passed, the Puriphico device notifies the user using LED cues after 20 seconds of handwashing (the minimum recommended time necessary to eradicate nearly all harmful pathogens and bacteria, per CDC guidelines). The difference, besides their different applications, is that the user does not need to “start” a Puriphico device by pressing a button. Instead, Puriphico devices can automatically recognize when someone is washing their hands using an AI-based hand recognition algorithm, and assist them accordingly. Adrian’s observations of the efficacy of electric toothbrushes to his own dental hygiene habits, is what led him to apply the same principles to handwashing.
“Over three and a half years of constant iteration, generously funded by the Olah, Dragon Kim, Paws for Humanity, and Atlas fellowships, through Polytechnic school, we’ve developed beta prototypes accurate and reliable enough for hospital testing,” says Adrian.
“Adrian’s insatiable curiosity and creative and facile mind made this project a true labor of love, said John Bracker, Head of School, Polytechnic School. “With the support of several generous donors and organizations, he pursued his interest while learning from some of the best in the world at Huntington Hospital.”
Under the guidance of Kimberly Shriner, MD, medical director of infection prevention and control at Huntington Health, Adrian’s pilot test and experiment at Huntington has already yielded remarkable results. “When I first met Adrian, I was immediately impressed by his ingenuity and drive to create a device to support important infection prevention measures,” says Dr. Shriner. “I’m so proud of the work he has achieved in helping keep caregivers and patients safe and he now has solid scientific data to further his development of this technology.”
Huntington Health’s Vice President of Quality Improvement and Clinical Operations, Nirav Kamdar, MD, adds: “It’s been truly inspiring to see and support Adrian through his Puriphico product development and testing at Huntington. Innovating medical devices is a long and arduous process and it is inspiring to see a young student see a problem, create a prototype, and investigate it like a scientist. Behavioral feedback devices like this would be a great support to clinical professionals in all types of health care settings. I think he has a bright future ahead of him and excited to see how University inspires him; I hope he makes Huntington Hospital a home to tinker with novel solutions for patients.”
“We’ve observed marked and quantifiable improvements in handwashing compliance in just a matter of weeks, and are preparing to deploy more devices in the hospital for large-scale testing soon,” says Adrian. “My goal is that by helping healthcare workers maintain effective handwashing habits, Puriphico will ultimately help save lives.”
For interviews and additional information, please contact Dorey Huston, PR and Media Manager, Huntington Health at (818) 303-5402.