Using Digital Insights to Help Reduce Hospital Infection Rates
Proper hand hygiene helps everyone stay healthy in daily life. But in hospitals, it’s critical. Hand hygiene is cited as the most effective way to prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which can be contracted by patients receiving medical treatment.1 Every year, millions of patients globally acquire an HAI.2 On any given day, about one in 31 patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection with 75,000 associated deaths in U.S. hospitals each year.3
Ecolab developed the Hand Hygiene Compliance Monitoring System, an electronic hand hygiene reminder system designed to help hospitals achieve the highest level of sustained hand hygiene compliance. Electronic badges record individual hand hygiene practices around each patient bed, holding healthcare workers accountable and providing real-time alerts and guidance for improvement to prevent unsafe patient interactions.
Two years after the monitoring system’s installation in five U.S. hospitals with a total of 1,609 beds, a retrospective study found that hand hygiene compliance levels in all five U.S. hospitals increased to 86–90%.4 By comparison, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that hand hygiene compliance rates in the average American hospital hover around 40%.5 More importantly, all five hospitals also experienced a decrease in total annual HAI rates, indicating that a hand hygiene compliance monitoring system may help reduce the risk of HAIs and help improve patient safety. Other benefits include reducing the need for extended stays for HAI treatment, which opens up more beds for new patients, and enhancing productivity by eliminating the need for healthcare workers to manually monitor hand hygiene compliance through direct observation.
1 Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/
2 World Health Organisation, https://www.who.int/gpsc/country_work/gpsc_ccisc_fact_sheet_en.pdf
4 Demonstrating a Decrease in HAIs across 5 hospitals, 2019 Ecolab research study
5 Sickbert-Bennett E.E. et al. Reduction of healthcare-associated infections by exceeding high compliance with hand hygiene practices. Dispatch; Vol 22, Number 9, September 2016