iPad touch technology tapped to fight infections By Bernie Monegain, Editor, HealthcareITNews

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The convenient way one uses to input and access information on the iPhone or iPad – capacitive touch technology – has now been incorporated into a system for monitoring hand hygiene compliance to help curb healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs.

Richard Deutsch of Annapolis, Md., has received a patent for a hand hygiene monitoring and surveillance system that he says assures virtually 100 percent caregiver compliance with federally recommended HAI prevention and hand hygiene protocol. He calls it the Sage-Hands Hygiene Monitoring System.
[See also: Robot at work on disinfection at Virginia hospital]

According to the website, the product is not yet available for commercial application. However demonstrations are offered.

One in 20 patients will be infected with a healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI) with over one-hundred-thousand deaths this year from infections such as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Clostridium difficile, inadequate aseptic techniques during intravenous or urinary catheter insertion or surgical procedures, and ventilator-associated pneumonia at an annual hospital cost in excess of 30 billion dollars, according to government statistics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of all hospital infections are preventable.
[See also: IT is key to preventing HAIs]

Recent studies show that healthcare workers fail to comply with proper hand hygiene practices more than 60 percent of the time.

Use of this technology should significantly reduce the scourge of HAIs via its application as a novel means of electronic surveillance, which is capable of determining the exact moment of actual physical contact between the healthcare worker (not unlike the iPhone user’s finger) and the patient or patient’s related medical devices such as their bed, intravenous catheter, urinary catheter, or ventilator (not unlike the iPhone screen itself), Deutsch says, and then determining the healthcare worker’s hygiene status by correlating the detected patient contact with the healthcare worker’s previous activation of a system-associated fixed or portable hand sanitizer. Detection of contact generates several animated color-coded graphics reflecting the healthcare worker’s hand hygiene status on an iPad-like display screen.

Failure to comply with required hand sanitizing creates a forensic visual recording of the hand hygiene violation with the subsequent identification and possible re-education of the non-compliant healthcare worker.

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