The increased awareness of the need to wash hands correctly and frequently has reached most of the public, but the information should be old news to people who work in health care-related jobs. However, every year, patients at health care facilities die from hospital-acquired infections caused by staff’s failure to follow hand-hygiene procedures, according to Government Technology.
It should be every hospital’s goal to eliminate preventable suffering and death by arresting the transmission of bacteria carried on workers’ hands. Many hospitals are taking that challenge seriously and investing in technology that will track and monitor hand hygiene.
Statistics show a serious need for improvement
Nationally, hand-washing compliance in hospitals is dangerously low. Estimates put the rate below 50%, and data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show HAIs affecting 1 out of every 31 hospital patients.
Even a 5% rise in hand-washing rates can improve patient safety, but there is no reason for having less than 100% handwashing compliance. Infections are preventable when staff follows safety protocol.
Technology provides proof of compliance
An electronic tracking system can monitor whether staff wash hands or use hand sanitizer by way of employee badges that interact with sensors on sinks and sanitizing stations. The badge then provides a visual alert when an employee approaches a patient: a green light if hands are clean or a red light if they are not. Data the system gathers is available to the facility’s administration.
Health care facilities have the responsibility to ensure their patients are safe so that no one dies because of medical negligence.