Use this system to improve hand hygiene performance rates — 4 advantages

The most effective way to increase hand hygiene performance rates is to use an electronic hand hygiene reminder system, according to an article penned by Clean Hands – Safe Hands founder and CEO Chris Hermann, PhD. 

Here are four advantages the reminder systems have over direct observation methods.

1. Electronic hand hygiene reminder systems capture nearly all hand hygiene opportunities.

By comparison, an observer might capture only 250 of 75,000 hand hygiene opportunities in a month; a proportion that low won't provide meaningful data.

2. The systems are more accurate.

Direct observers can't see into patient rooms, so they can only know if a clinician sanitizes outside the room. They're also subject to observation bias and subconscious preconceptions.

"For example, someone who has a personal belief that physicians are less likely to sanitize than nurses may end up unintentionally recognizing that pattern. Technology has no such bias," Dr. Hermann said.

3. Clinicians might change their behavior when being watched.

The Hawthorne Effect could result in a higher hand hygiene performance rate that doesn't actually reflect clinicians' typical behavior, rendering the data worthless.

4. Some electronic hand hygiene systems give clinicians in-the-moment feedback.

While certain electronic hand hygiene systems only collect data, others provide reminders to sanitize with a light, beep or human voice. This method can be more effective than giving clinicians monthly reports, which aren't likely to be remembered or acted upon.

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