Voice-based hand hygiene reminders in hospitals may reduce HAIs
Clean Hands – Safe Hands, a company that makes electronic hand hygiene monitoring systems, reported data recently at the conference for the Association for Professionals in Infection Control Epidemiology that showed a 61.4% decrease in health care-associated infections, or HAIs, across 10 hospitals that use its technology.
The system includes an audible reminder in the form of a human voice that reminds clinicians to sanitize their hands.
“Clinicians already wear a badge reel affixed to their collar or belt, from which their credentials hang,” Chris Hermann, MD, PhD, CEO of Clean Hands – Safe Hands, told Infectious Disease News. “We replace their regular badge reel with ours, which contains Bluetooth technology. This communicates with [internet of things (IoT)] sensors we affix to soap and sanitizer dispensers in patient care areas. When a clinician walks into or out of a patient’s room, the IoT sensors detect that. The clinician has a certain number of seconds to dispense sanitizer or soap, and if they don’t, that’s when the Real-Time Voice Reminder sounds.”
The default reminder is an audio file featuring a female voice that says, “Please sanitize.” For rooms where a patient has Clostridioides difficile, the voice changes to “soap and water only” upon exit, since sanitizer does not kill C. difficile spores. Hospitals that use the technology can customize it with their own preferred voice and content, such as the infection preventionist’s or a child’s voice, according to Hermann.
Typically, the device is intended for health care providers, but one hospital is currently testing providing visitors with badge reels as a means to improve infection prevention.
Overall, according to Hermann, the device has bolstered patients’ confidence in clinicians.
“We have not heard of any cases of patients being scared or losing trust in their doctor,” he said. “The voice is gentle, and the volume can be adjusted as necessary. Most patients appreciate being protected by a system that ensures their doctors and other providers are cleaning their hands and keeping them safe.”
According to a Clean Hands – Safe Hands, HAI data from the 10 hospitals has shown about 372 total infections are prevented each year, translating to a direct cost savings of more than $9.5 million annually and 39 lives saved each year. – by Joe Gramigna
Disclosure: Hermann is the founder and CEO of Clean Hands – Safe Hands.