Marisa Chiulli

PhoneSoap: Consumer Product or Medical Device?

If you saw last Friday’s episode of Shark Tank you know that creators of PhoneSoap Wes Barnes and Dan LaPorte turned down Mark Cuban’s offer of $300K for a 20% stake in their company. The entrepreneurs had sales of nearly $540,000 within the first six months on the market, but that did not catch the attention of Mark Cuban.

Cuban commented that this product would be more a commercially used product and could see it successfully in hospitals. People spend a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms waiting to hear news, or for a loved one to get out of surgery etc. We are more likely to use our mobile phones to pass the time by. “From a health care professional’s perspective, I could carry anything bad into [a] waiting room, which could then be picked up and distributed through the hospital.”

Mobile phones carry 18x more harmful bacteria than what could be found in a public restroom. PhoneSoap is a container that uses Ultraviolet light to eliminate the harmful bacteria lurking on your mobile phone. The current time to clean the phone is 5 minutes; while your phone is being cleaned you can also re-charge your battery.

But what if your phone could be cleaned in under a minute? The doctor could come out and tell you that you are now able to see the patient. Would you want to wait five minutes to clean your phone or 30 – 60 seconds to stop the spread of bacteria?

If the product were to be used in a commercial sense, then five minutes to thoroughly remove harmful bacteria would not be an inconvenience; in a hospital though, five minutes to disinfect may seem like five hours.

By increasing the strength of the Ultraviolet light, Barnes and LaPorte would be able to decrease the amount of time PhoneSoap takes to sanitize the mobile device to 30 – 60 seconds without damaging the device.

Hospitals are converting to using tablets to pull up patient’s medical charts. The use of this product has many benefits in the hospital world and not just for the common visitor. If all nurses, doctors, and even administrative staff put their phones in when first coming in to the office, after breaks, and before they leave think about the amount of harmful bacteria that won’t be spread around. Even though staff has to wash their hands quite often, hand washing does not clean the devices that many other hands have touched, especially tablets. Making the product large enough to fit a tablet for nurses and hospital staff to de-sanitize in between shift changes would be ideal. Within under a minute the tablet is de-sanitized and ready to be used by the time the next person is ready to start.

What are your takes about PhoneSoap? Do you see it more as a consumer product or a medical device to be sold to hospitals? Do you think the right idea is to pursue the hospital strategy? Send in your thoughts, we’d love your feedback!