Remote video auditing leads to better hospital hand hygiene compliance

Nearly one out of every 20 hospitalized patients each year will develop a hospital-acquired infection (HAI). Of those infected, it is estimated that 100,000 will die. The cost to the healthcare system is approximately $45 billion and rising. Despite universally-accepted knowledge that hand hygiene among health care professionals is an intervention to reduce HAI, tools to encourage greater compliance among hospital staff have been largely ineffective. Hand hygiene rates in US hospitals have been documented as being very low in numerous academic studies, with some studies indicating hand hygiene rates as low 5%. Now, in a groundbreaking study just published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, North Shore University Hospital on Long Island is credited with taking a new approach to hand hygiene that has produced dramatic results. The hospital partnered with Arrowsight, Inc., developer of a patented 24/7/365 third-party remote video auditing platform (RVA) to monitor hand hygiene and conduct a pilot program to increase hand hygiene among health care professionals in their medical intensive care unit (MICU).

Over an initial 16-week period, the hospital staff was monitored to establish a base rate of hand hygiene compliance without any feedback to the staff. Using a very strict definition of hand hygiene (requiring health care workers to perform hand hygiene before and after patient care within 10 seconds of entering and exiting the room, regardless if gloves were used), their rates were right in line with previously documented findings at around 10%. The next 16-week period, staff received real-time feedback on their performance via LED screens mounted on the walls of the MICU and from management. Within weeks of providing feedback, the hand hygiene rate during the second period jumped to over 80%. During a subsequent 17 month maintenance period, a sustained rate of well above 80% was achieved. There were over 430,000 hand hygiene data points collected during the 25 month study period, making this the most comprehensive study ever conducted on hand hygiene performance.

"Hand washing has been shown to be the backbone of infection control for the last 150 years.  It is one of the most important aspects of preventing the spread of infectious diseases from patient to patient by the hands of healthcare professionals. This is the first time we've used third-party remote video auditing technology, combined with continuous real-time feedback. The results were not only very significant but also showed a sustained improvement in hand hygiene compliance in our facility over a two-year period," said Dr. Bruce Farber, the Chief of Infectious Diseases at North Shore University Hospital who oversaw the study. "Plus, our staff reacted very positively to the program. The staff did not feel their privacy was being violated or unfairly observed. It has engendered a sense of teamwork in keeping compliance rates high. Quality patient care is critical and North Shore remains committed to the study of, and prevention of, hospital-acquired infections and other infectious diseases."

Adam Aronson, Chief Executive Officer of Arrowsight, Inc. added, "Members of my immediate family have experienced hospital-acquired infections. That is part of what inspired me to develop a program for healthcare environments.  Dr. Farber and the staff at North Shore University Hospital were willing to give RVA the opportunity to help improve patient care. Their dedication enabled us to prove that the platform works in this industry as it has in others and is a big step forward in the battle against HAIs. Arrowsight remains focused on expanding our operations and continuing to evolve to help the health care industry deliver the highest quality of care to patients."



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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