22 July 2013

Hospitals May Be Monitoring Staff Hand Washing

This is a first, and I sincerely hope that it spreads to other hospitals. SSM St. Mary's Health Center in Richmond Heights, MO is the first to use the Biovigil hand washing technology in practice. “The collaborative test phase for the system, developed by Biovigil Hygiene Technologies in Ann Arbor, Mich., began last June at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center (the only test site to date). A tiny computer and built-in sensor technology in the badge detects chemical vapors from alcohol-based hand washing solutions used throughout the hospital (think of it as a tiny smoke detector designed to detect clean hands). In or out of a patient’s room, the badge cycles through a series of color changes from green to flashing yellow to flashing red. Green means clean. To return the badge to the green (clean) status, a staff member simply places their sanitized hands close to the badge as they are drying – proudly called “pledging the badge.” Each “pledge” is recorded electronically via a web-based information system.”

It is a shame that more hospitals are not stepping up and at least trying this technology. Apparently the hospitals in the St. Louis area will be next if the results continue as expected. SSM St. Mary's Health Center is claiming, “Staff hand-washing compliance on two test units at the hospital are now routinely maintained near 100 percent (99% and 97%), a level never before attained by a hospital, especially with this type of visibility and precision.”


““The ‘holy grail’ of infection prevention is in our grasp,” said Dr. Morey Gardner, an infectious disease specialist and SSM St. Mary’s Health Center director of infection disease and infection prevention.”