Why is Hand Hygiene So Important in Health Care?

lab-technician-washing-her-hands In a CDC study on medical staff and hand washing, it was found that one in 25 hospital patients were subjected to Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs). Other studies (in the US and worldwide) have also found metrics similar to the CDC study.

In view of this, The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided “Five Moments of Hand Hygiene” guidelines that hospital staff members should adhere to when working with patients and also for their own safety. Specifically the WHO points out times when staff should ensure they have cleansed themselves from bacteria. They stress washing hands prior to touching a patient or aseptic procedures, after exposure to bodily fluids and after touching a patient and/or the patient’s surroundings.

Although these guidelines are practical and make sense, to enforce them is another story. Enter new technology. General Sensing, a technology company that specializes in using sensor networks to help increase the quality of care in hospitals has developed sensor devices that can monitor hygiene among hospital staff. In addition, it will subsequently ensure compliance with WHO guidelines.

Called Medsense, it is a series of beacons that monitor when and how a staff employee washes their hands and transmits data to a central station for review by both the hospital administrator as well as the staff member. The employee wears a badge that contains a chip to monitor their hygiene.

According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Infection and Public Health showed that the WHO guidelines were followed 25% more in one month when health care employees utilized the MedSense network against those that didn’t.

Some employees may have abstentions to wearing the badge; however, it is part of the technological progress towards better health care and this will surely take priority as it is a known fact that employees perform better when they know they are being observed. A phenomena known as the Hawthorne Effect.

With the advent of 21st century techniques and technology, expect to see accelerated advancement in the quality of care for patients and employees in the medical field.

Also, it goes without saying that washing your hands frequently whether in or out of the workplace will help you avoid illnesses that you may acquire personally.

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