Accreditation

Technology and hand hygiene compliance

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, July 1, 2018

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Should facilities invest in hand hygiene monitoring technology as CMS and The Joint Commission crack down?

Infection preventionist Jessica Strauch shares an amusing anecdote to show how hand hygiene monitoring technology has improved the culture at Lutheran Medical Center in Colorado.

Picture one of Lutheran’s nurses standing in front of her kitchen sink at home. Dinner is hot and ready, and the nurse stops to wash her hands before everyone digs in. Then, even though she is out of her scrubs and wearing civilian clothes, she waves her hands in front of an imaginary badge.

Oh, shoot, she isn’t at work anymore. But hey, at least the nurse remembered to wash her hands without a beep or a buzz from her BioVigil badge reminding her to perform hand hygiene.

“It’s funny to hear nurses say that,” says Strauch, chuckling.

Lutheran is among the healthcare organizations nationwide that in recent years decided to try hand hygiene monitoring technology in the hopes it could improve hand hygiene compliance—and in the process reduce the number of infections and avoid citations from accrediting organizations like The Joint Commission, which in January put stricter enforcement in place.

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