Hospital badge provides handwashing reminder

6th of June 2011
Hospital badge provides handwashing reminder

An electronic hand hygiene reminder leaves no hiding place for healthcare workers who fail to wash their hands.

The ingenious system uses a badge worn by medical staff that flashes green when the operative approaches a patient's bed with clean hands. If the healthcare worker has not washed their hands, the badge fails to light up and will vibrate instead as a handwashing reminder.

The system proved a huge success when recently tested in a paediatric oncology unit at Miami Children's Hospital in Florida. A total of 79 healthcare workers took part in the five-week study during which hospital-acquired infections decreased by 89 per cent.

"These results suggest that the electronic monitoring of hand hygiene among healthcare workers has played an important role in the reduction of hospital-acquired infections in our facility, and could do so in other healthcare facilities," said the hospital's director of infection prevention and control Barbara Simmonds.

The HyGreen monitoring system employs a handwash sensing device mounted next to each gel or soap dispenser, plus a monitor at every patient's bed. When a member of staff applies gel or soap to the hands, the sensing device confirms the presence of soap while simultaneously identifying the employee.

The beauty of the system is that hospitals can potentially improve their hand hygiene compliance while choosing for themselves how to market the system to patients. Meanwhile, the hospital holds reports showing who is washing their hands when and where - and who is not -which seems highly likely to improve hand hygiene compliance.


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