Can electronic monitoring systems improve hand hygiene? 4 study findings

Research published in the American Journal of Infection Control examined how an electronic monitoring system can affect hand hygiene behaviors of healthcare workers.

Researchers used an electronic monitoring system outfitted to a wall-mounted soap and hand rub dispenser that tracked hand washing activity at a Toronto, Canada-based musculoskeletal rehabilitation nursing unit three times at six-month intervals. The deployment lasted four weeks.

Here are the key details to know:

1. The monitoring systems recorded 76,130 hand washing opportunities, with a total hand hygiene performance of 67.43 percent.

2. There was an increase in dispenser use when monitoring systems were in place. Continuous system use resulted in a decrease, which ended when a new monitoring period took place.

3. There was a decrease in activity after the monitoring systems were withdrawn.

4. "Intermittent deployment of an electronic monitoring intervention counteracts potential declines in participation rates sometimes seen with continuous system use. However, adoption of this strategy requires the acceptance of lower periods of performance between each deployment," the researchers concluded.

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