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Innovative Technology Developed at AGH Accurately Monitors Healthcare Professionals' Handwashing Practices, Study Shows ,
Date:5/6/2010

Device Measures Employees’ Use of Soap or Sanitizer During Patient Interactions

Pittsburgh, PA (Vocus) May 6, 2010 -- A novel electronic device developed by an Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) physician and similar to that used in Turnpike toll booths may be an effective and practical way to monitor the hand hygiene compliance of health care workers, according to a study published in the May issue of the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. The article is available online at http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/toc/iche/current.

Pioneered by Andrew Sahud, MD, Chairman of the Infection Prevention Committee at AGH, the Semmelweis Hand Hygienometer incorporates use of a pager size data receptor worn by an employee that communicates with a monitor attached to patient room entry ways and adjacent soap dispensers. The device records whether soap or a sanitizer was used as the employee entered and exited the room.

In the study, researchers compared the device’s results with information on employee hand hygiene practices obtained through direct observation. The Hygienometer was worn for four weeks by medical interns and registered nurses. The researchers found that the technology was effective, recording compliance rates similar to those assessed through direct observation.

“As hospitals and healthcare workers confront increasingly virulent strains of bacteria, there is a sense of urgency among physicians and institutions to address these complications and reduce the rates of transmission,” Dr. Sahud said. “Innovative ideas are desperately needed to improve hand hygiene compliance, reduce infec
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