Year-long Hospital Pilot Documents Highlight®’s Role in Reducing Failure Rate of Cleaning Sampling to Zero

This post is part of a series authored by the BASICS (Bold Action to Stop Infections in Clinical Settings) team. BASICS is a new initiative that will transform healthcare and reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by at least 50%.


Written by Jason Kang, Co-founder and CEO, Kinnos


The World Health Organization estimates that 10 out of every 100 hospitalized patients in developing countries will acquire at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI). Studies have shown that less than 50% of surfaces in healthcare settings are effectively cleaned, but that better cleaning technique could prevent 40-80% of HAIs.

Highlight® addresses this gap in cleaning by providing real-time visual feedback to empower health workers to disinfect surfaces correctly every single time they use a disinfectant. It does this by colorizing existing disinfectants so that workers can easily see exactly what has and has not been covered, so no spots are ever missed. The color then fades after several minutes to provide an approximation of when disinfection is complete.

In 2018, Highlight® was piloted in a 500-bed academic hospital based in Boston, Massachusetts, in 11 medical and ICU inpatient wards.[1] In the U.S., a common method of determining cleaning efficacy is ATP bioluminescence. After a surface has been cleaned, a sample of the surface is taken using a swab, which is then placed in a device that generates a number in relative light units (RLUs). The higher the number, the “dirtier” the surface. The sample is recorded as a pass or a fail depending on a certain RLU threshold.

Across a period of 55 weeks at the hospital, ATP bioluminescence was used to quantify thoroughness of cleaning on over 1,000 high-touch surfaces, such as bedside tables and door knobs, comparing disinfectant alone vs. disinfectant with Highlight®. The study found that introducing Highlight® completely eliminated the failure rate – from 5.7% to 0%.

The breakthrough that Highlight® represents – the ability to overcome training and language barriers to empower health workers and those who clean facilities with a feeling of confidence through disinfection they can see – can have a profound impact in reducing HAIs globally as part of the BASICS solution.


To learn more about BASICS (Bold Action to Stop Infections in Clinical Settings), visit

[1] Tyan et al. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2019;40(2):256-258.