The healthcare industry is ready to wash its hands of dirty hands. And modern technology is going a long way to help in this effort.
The findings of a recent study published in the journal of Computers, Informatics, Nursing show that nurses were inclined to wash their hands more regularly when prompted by an electronic monitoring system.
The system in question, which was designed to both perceive hand hygiene opportunities and document hygiene actions, was put to use at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.
More than a dozen nurses were adorned with “badges” connected to sensors in patient areas of the hospital. The sensors were “activated” – they buzzed – when proper hand-washing practices were being frequently observed.
The study included three phases with the system operating in three different modes: (1) an inactive mode during the first phase when hand hygiene opportunities and hand hygiene actions were recorded but prompting and visual indication functions were disabled, (2) only hand hygiene status indicators were enabled during the second phase, and (3) both hand hygiene status and real-time hand hygiene prompting signals were enabled during the third phase.
“The system indicated significantly higher hand hygiene activity rates and compliance during the third phase, with both hand hygiene indication and real-time prompting functions enabled,” reads the journal’s abstract description of the study’s findings. “To increase the efficacy of the technology, its use was supplemented with individual performance reviews of the automatically collected data.”
To review more details from the study, click here.