Study: Hygiene Monitoring Reduces Infections at Hospitals

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Jul 18, 2016 in Medical Malpractice

sink washing handsAccording to a new study, using electronic hand hygiene monitoring systems caused a 42 percent reduction in hospital-acquired infections in one South Carolina healthcare system. Hospital-acquired infections are caused by a lack of hygiene compliance and these infections are a leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Greenville Health System (GHS) investigators installed an electronic hand hygiene monitoring system which monitored employee compliance with hand hygiene guidelines laid out by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Five Moments.

The WHO Five Moments guidelines advise healthcare professionals to wash their hands:

  • Prior to patient contact
  • Prior to aseptic tasks, including any procedures where healthcare professionals are in contact with the patient’s broken skin, mucous membrane, or any invasive medical device needing sterilization
  • Upon coming into contact with bodily fluids
  • After patient contact
  • After touching the patient’s surroundings

This concept was developed to provide healthcare professionals with easy-to-understand guidelines illustrating at-risk moments for spreading pathogens and infections and when handwashing could lower that risk.

When the electronic hand hygiene monitoring system was in place, guideline compliance rose 25.5 percent. Hospital-acquired Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections fell 42 percent.

Prior studies show that healthcare professionals' compliance with hand hygiene guidelines has increased when they are under observation. The hand hygiene monitoring system allowed Greenville, SC, investigators to indirectly observe healthcare employees while preserving monitoring accuracy.

Prior to the study, GHS used a direct observation model to keep track of hand hygiene behavior. The problem with that model is that it did not track when doctors and healthcare professionals washed their hands in patients' rooms.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one because of a hospital-acquired infection, you may be entitled to compensation. The medical malpractice lawyer s at Stewart Bell, PLLC will review your claim and inform you of your legal options.

Call 304-345-1700 or complete our Free Claim Evaluation Form today.

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