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‘Smart badges’ that remind staff to wash their hands10th of August 2012
'Smart badges' that monitor healthcare employees' hand washing habits are now widely in use in the southern US.
The badges use radio-frequency identification technology to remind employees to wash or sanitise their hands when they enter or exit a patient's room. The devices also record the number of opportunities the employee has to wash their hands and how often they respond to this reminder.
The nGage system devised by Proventix has been in use in around 40 medical facilities in Alabama since 2010. It recently crossed the borders to Tennessee and is being employed by staff at the TriStar Southern Hills Medical Centre in Nashville.
"The system allows us to obtain a whole list of everyone who comes into contact with it and find out what their compliance rate is," said Thomas Ozburn, chief executive officer at the TriStar centre.
"Studies show that hand hygiene can help with reducing infection. This system is bringing science and technology together to help assist employees."
He says employees have responded positively to the badges and are keen to play their part in reducing the spread of infection.
Around 1.7 million people in the US contract a healthcare-associated infection every year, according to Proventix. The company claims that initial trials of the system - which can be implemented in any hospital, outpatient clinic, nursing home, dental office or other patient care environment - have resulted in a 22 per cent reduction in HAIs.