By Janel Nour-Omid, CEO and Cofounder
Recently published studies continue to provide evidence demonstrating that electronic hand hygiene monitoring can improve hand hygiene compliance, reduce healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs), and provide other benefits relating to the health and safety of patients and healthcare workers.
Electronic monitoring improves hand hygiene compliance and reduces C. diff infections
According to the Banks, et al., 2019 study, electronic hand hygiene monitoring improved compliance to 97 percent on 2.77 million observations compared to 91 percent on 1,612 observations in the pre-intervention period. The study’s findings also support an association between more robust hand hygiene compliance data and a significant decrease in toxin-producing Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) infections. Electronic hand hygiene monitoring contributed to a decrease in these infections by 70 percent to 2.89 per 10,000 patient days during the nine-month implementation period compared to 9.6 per 10,000 patient days in the 12-month period prior to the implementation of electronic monitoring.
Electronic monitoring associated with reduced emergency department absenteeism and better employee health
A study by Strauch, et al., 2019 found that an electronic hand hygiene system in a hospital emergency department was associated with decreased absenteeism among emergency room nurses and technicians. The reduced absences resulted in less overtime hours worked by substitute staff and an unanticipated return on investment benefiting the health of employees.
As the current coronavirus situation makes starkly clear, health care is an intensely human endeavor. Protecting the physical and psychological health of healthcare workers, especially first responders on the front lines, is crucial.
Electronic monitoring improves compliance while providing personalized, robust data and other benefits
Greskowiak 2019 described a study of an automated (electronic) personal hand hygiene system in a hospice. The system consisted of personal devices and the use of alcohol gel sanitizer, wireless data transfer and web-based reporting. The system measured the individual hand hygiene events (use of sanitizer) of 16 hospice care professionals over three weeks. This approach made use of leadership communication, a group performance dashboard, individualized email performance summaries, ongoing positive feedback via the personal device, hand hygiene education, and sustained individual performance recognition. Hand hygiene events increased to 1,387 per week compared to 60 events per month in the pre-intervention period.
The Pong, et al., 2018 study showed that the continuous collection of hand hygiene data enabled by electronic monitoring overcomes the limitations of direct observation by providing data relating to time and place versus only the aggregate data provided by direct observation. For example, electronic monitoring found that the number of hand wash events occurring inside patient rooms increased with longer visits. In addition, the study demonstrated that electronic monitoring can be configured to collect hand hygiene performance data in soiled utility rooms and other areas outside of the patient environment where the risk of infection must be reduced.
A literature review by Meng, et al., 2019 found that hand hygiene monitoring technology resulted in compliance improvements ranging from 6.40 percent to as high as 54.97 percent.
Latest research results consistent with Vitalacy’s experience
The Meng study found that certain factors were crucial in gaining the acceptance of electronic hand hygiene technology among healthcare professionals. These factors include assuring professionals of the technology’s transparency and confidentiality, as well as demonstrating the usability of the devices associated with the technology.
In implementing this technology in hospitals, the Vitalacy team has organized work groups including staff whose support and satisfaction with the technology is key to its acceptance. Once we demonstrate how the technology improves patient and worker safety, their enthusiasm is high.
Vitalacy’s electronic hand hygiene monitoring platform incorporates the best features of the technology examined by these studies. Our technology has contributed to improved hand hygiene compliance results and reduced HAI rates; it generates both group and individualized performance reports, provides ongoing positive feedback, and recognizes and documents good performance. Requiring nothing of workers to use other than wearing a wristband or badge tag, our platform provides robust time and locational data that provide insights on how to improve workflow and patient rounding, as well as hand hygiene compliance.
Learn more at vitalacy.com and read our white paper “Finding New Ways to Prevent Healthcare-Acquired Infections and Conditions.”
Banks M, et al. Decreased laboratory-identified Clostridioides difficile Infections with implementation of an electronic hand hygiene monitoring system in a long-term acute care hospital. Open Forum Infectious Diseases, 2019 supplement;6:S425-S425.
Greskowiak ML. Quantitative measurement of hand hygiene behavior in hospice environments using an automated personal hand hygiene system. American Journal of Infection Control, June 2019;47(6):S47.
Meng M, et al. Technological innovations in infection control: a rapid review of the acceptance of behavior monitoring systems and their contribution to the improvement of hand hygiene. American Journal of Infection Control, April 2019;47(4):439-447.
Pong S, et al. Secondary measures of hand hygiene performance in health care available with continuous electronic monitoring of individuals. American Journal of Infection Control, January 2019;47(1):38-44.
Strauch J, et al. Use of an automated hand hygiene compliance system by emergency room nurses and technicians is associated with decreased employee absenteeism. American Journal of Infection Control, Dec. 20, 2019 available online.