Denver Health Medical Center, a safety net hospital with over 500 beds, has a longstanding commitment to the health of its community, evident in its quality of care and determination to achieve continuous improvement. Prior to implementing a technology aid, Denver Health placed emphasis on excellent hand hygiene as a central tenet of infection prevention. However, the organization recognized the limitations of using Direct Observation to monitor hand hygiene adherence.
Despite best efforts, infection preventionists and hospital leadership collected just a few hundred observations per month, and mostly during regular business hours. They were also cognizant of how the Hawthorne Effect (alteration of behavior due to the awareness of being observed) was likely inflating their compliance reports. The integrated location and hand hygiene monitoring system was a major appeal to Denver Health, collecting thousands of observations during all times of day without any interruption to clinical workflow or established hand hygiene protocols.
In April 2016, Denver Health bolstered its existing hand hygiene improvement program with Electronic Compliance Monitoring technology from CenTrak, as a means to both effect and measure change in hand hygiene. The technology provided objective measurements of hand hygiene adherence on its units, on all work shifts, and the ability to quantify the impact of certain interventions on hand hygiene compliance.
In general, healthcare workers want to do the right thing. By providing healthcare staff with their individual hand hygiene data, they are more aware of their performance and strive to improve adherence.”
- Heather Young MD, Medical Director of Infection Prevention
CenTrak’s Enterprise Location technology strengthened Denver Health Medical Center’s existing hygiene standards with location-based hand hygiene events. These events are collected by sensors directly integrated into the facility’s dispensers and communicate wirelessly with lightweight badges worn by staff. CenTrak’s electronic hand hygiene monitoring system captures 100% of hand hygiene events in which data is then viewed at the hospital-, department-,or individual-level. For example, this solution demonstrates if a healthcare worker washed their hands upon entering a room and again after their interaction with a patient. Failure to comply with hand hygiene protocols results in a gentle reminder from the staff member’s RTLS-enabled badge. This allows Denver Health to audit hand hygiene processes, reduce the spread of unnecessary infections, improve patient outcomes, and lower costs.
The CenTrak solution includes:
- A full set of compliance reports to support Joint Commission requirements
- Wash in/wash out rules linked to individual caregivers with all wash events
- A map view displaying compliance information to identify where additional interventions are needed
- Audible alert option providing real-time reminders from staff badges to increase compliance when needed
- No disruption to clinical workflow
After two years, the results of this technology-based initiative are in. The organization’s baseline hand hygiene adherence rates saw a 75% increase! Barriers to hand hygiene improvement, such as promoting change and collecting unbiased observations, were virtually eliminated. The addition of individualized feedback from automated monitoring systems has been an invaluable tool in making staff aware of their hand hygiene habits