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New smart watch may improve hand hygiene6th of January 2015
A new mobile technology is attempting to solve the longstanding problem of ensuring proper hand hygiene in hospitals to reduce infection rates.
Nurses and physicians in at least one hospital owned by Intermountain Healthcare, a healthcare system based in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, are wearing specially designed smart watches that show whether they have washed their hands before they walk into patient rooms.
"The watch detects motion and it knows when a wearer goes from room to room," Karl West, Intermountain's chief information security officer explained. "As soon as I leave a room, I need to be aware that I should be washing my hands. So the watch has a colour-based alarm that goes off as I change rooms.
"Now the watch instead of being green is red, and based on a period of time, we also change that to yellow to give clinicians the indication that they should be washing their hands for sepsis control.
"We've tried many things over the years: policies and procedures, putting signs on the walls. This mobile device sends information that managers can see. It has had a great impact in our hospital. We've tracked a reduction in infection."