For more than 150 years, hospital workers have known that keeping their own hands clean was a key part in helping prevent infections among patients they cared for. However, getting busy hospital workers to wash properly and often enough has been an ongoing problem that has been tough to solve. Until now. Thanks to a number of new and innovative technologies, hand washing compliance in at least one test site has gone from 50% to 99%.
The solutions vary but they include sensors that doctors and nurses wear that indicate when and if their hands are clean, video checking of hand washing stations, sensors and data recorders that note who washes, when and where and so on. The various systems are now being tested all over the country and will likely come into wider use in the near future. With an estimated one in every 20 patients getting a hospital-acquired infection during their stays, this technology could make a huge difference in the health and safety of hospital patients.
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Photo courtesy of The Associated Press.