Using technology to increase hand cleaning

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Posted Oct 11th, 2011

Each time you enter and exit one of the Niagara Health System’s seven sites, a voice will now urge you to “please, clean your hands!” The goal of the new motion-activated hand hygiene kiosks is to remind everyone entering the facilities to do their part in helping to prevent the spread of infection.

In March, the NHS began installing the kiosk displays with alcohol hand sanitizer dispensers and messages reinforcing the importance of frequently cleaning your hands. Good hand hygiene by everyone is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable infections like influenza, C difficile, and other viruses. Global research indicates that improvements in hand hygiene activities could potentially reduce the number of infections spread in health care environments by up to 50 per cent.

“Continued vigilance with hand hygiene is essential to help decrease the spread of infection in the hospital and in the community,” says Kim Stephens-Woods, Vice President, Patient Services. “We all play a role in keeping patients, visitors, physicians, staff and our families at home safe and healthy.”

The audio reminders and kiosks are among many strategies the NHS uses as a component of the organization’s infection prevention and control program to promote good hand hygiene. Hand sanitizer pumps are readily available throughout the hospital sites; at entrances, elevators, and outside all patient rooms. More than 50 staff trained as hand hygiene ‘Champions’ act as resources and advocates, helping to ensure policies and procedures are followed by everyone.

“Good hand hygiene is the best defense to prevent the spread of superbugs,” says Dr. Sue Matthews, Interim President and CEO. “We are all in this together, and it is essential that everyone practices good hand hygiene at all of our hospital sites.”

Niagara Health System