The Problem:

Run-of-the-mill name
Clueless audience

Hand hygiene is a crucial part of the medical profession. But according to the CDC, healthcare providers clean their hands less than half the times they should. That’s part of the reason 1 in 25 people get sick at the hospital in the U.S. With antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the rise, clinicians are on the front lines of the war on disease.


Enter a team of doctors and technologists committed to stopping the problem at its source. They invented an integrated system based around wearable bands. The idea was simple: track how frequently and thoroughly each team member is cleaning their hands, then give them real-time, haptic feedback to let them know they’ve done enough.

The solution was solid gold. Its name, Intelligent M, was nothing of the kind. It left hospitals, doctors, and other prospective users in the dark about what the system actually did or who it helped. In a crowded medical market where names focus on technical brilliance or innovation, shouting “intelligence” to the rooftops wasn’t getting them anywhere. They needed another way in.

The Fix:

Focus on the benefits
Spend some time on the frontline


We took a look at the story Intelligent M was telling. The system they had created was impressive: wearable wristbands knew when a doctor or nurse was using a sink or hand sanitizer station, and they knew how vigorously they were cleansing their hands. The wearables were then able to send data from the entire medical team to managers, filling them in on how clean a hospital was, who was improving, and where training mattered most.

But at the heart of it, this wasn’t about managers. Intelligent M’s technology focused on the quality of hand washing and gave feedback in real time without interrupting important work. There was an immediacy that set its approach apart from conventional hand washing guidelines: the technology was right there. It was built for the people at the front lines


FirstHand said all this. This healthcare name stressed the physical, immediate experience of hand hygiene, and the literal hands-on education the program was promising. It hammered home the message that point-of-contact cleanliness had to be a priority for hospitals. And it described the process in an intuitive way. The name “conjures the right ideas with customers, potential partners, and others,” says FirstHand CEO Joshua Silber. “It’s immediately understandable, relatable and relevant for our business and multiple market applications.”


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