After Robert Knighton’s grandmother had a stroke, she could only use the right side of her body. It made keeping clean in the hospital difficult. Knight’s wife Nina, a nurse at the
VA Medical Center
, noticed the same problem with some of her patients.
“The bed-bound patient population can’t get up to wash their hands,” explains Nina. “If a nurse comes in and she’s contaminated and touches the bedrails, the patients have nothing to wash their hands.”
The problem gave Nina an idea. “After working at St. Vincent Charity Hospital
and then the VA she noticed it more in conjunction with the spread of hospital-acquired infections,” says Robert. “One day she was driving and it just came to her that patients needed a personal convenient device.” So Robert and Nina formed RKN Corporation in 2010 and started to develop the Bedside Sani-Holder, a bedside hand sanitizer dispenser. “This is a smart dispenser that helps with compliance, reminds patients if they haven’t used it and tracks usage,” says Robert.
Working with agencies like MAGNET
, RKN is working on a prototype of the Bedside Sani-Holder. They expect to hit the market by the second quarter of 2013. The Sani-Holder is part of NorTech’s Speed to Market Accelerator.
“We’ve really been able to use Northeast Ohio to launch our product,” says Robert. “Cleveland is known for healthcare and technology. It kind of feels like we’re entering the market at the right time.”
Robert and Nina are targeting hospitals and nursing homes with the Bedside Sani-Holder. So far, interest has been high. “We have spoken with quite a few hospitals in Northeast Ohio and have received welcoming feedback and interest,” says Robert. “Humility of Mary’s purchasing department said they would be interested in trialing our product once we are ready to go to market.”
When their product hits the market, RKN will be hiring IT staff, customer service, sales reps and operations staff. Two people that have been helping with management tasks will also join RKN working in permanent project management and operations.
Sources: Robert and Nina Knighton
Writer: Karin Connelly