Tracking Hand Hygiene in a Hospital Setting

Sensors provided data for more hand washing opportunities for healthcare workers and affected related behaviors.

Healthcare associated-infections (HAI) have been an ongoing challenges for medical centers and hospitals. They create additional issues for patients included extended stays in healthcare facilities, additional medications needed, and other costly expenses.

Hand hygiene compliance (HHC) is a key component to avoiding HAI. However, some studies have found HHC to be less than optimal.

One hospital in Southern Denmark saw an increase in HHC after reported data and feedback was given to healthcare staff.

“Once data were shown and feedback provided, both doctors (BPC; 16% vs 24%, p=0.04; APC: 26% vs 35%, p=0.059) and caregivers (BPC: 22% vs 37%, p<0.0001; APC: 39% vs 51% p<0.0001) improved their HHC,” investigators wrote.

The data was presented at the 2021 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology conference virtual sessions.

Specifically, the Danish investigators placed sensors on alcohol-based sanitizers, healthcare worker (HCW) name tags, and patient beds. A prospective observational study was conducted in a Danish medical hospital ward between February-November 2020.

At baseline, “HHC was lowest before patient contact (BPC) compared to after patient contact (APC) for both the doctors (16% vs 26%) and the nurses (22% vs 39%),” the investigators wrote. “Baseline data were obtained before the reporting of feedback data. HCWs were grouped as caregivers (n=58) and doctors (n=18). Rooms were classified by type e.g., medications room and patient room. Overall data were regularly presented to staff groups and subgroups, caregivers, and doctors

In terms of the big takeaway, data provided through technology can play a role in helping healthcare workers reinforce HHC. “Feedback data from the automated hand hygiene monitoring system helped the HCWs to improve their HHC significantly,” the investigators concluded.