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Study: Electronic Monitoring Systems Can Improve Healthcare Hand Hygiene Compliance

Posted on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

GOJO Industries, a leader in hand hygiene and skin health and inventors of PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, conducted an independent research study at the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas to determine the impact on hand hygiene compliance rates when the hospital hand hygiene program included an electronic compliance activity monitoring system. The compliance technology system used in the study was the GOJO SMARTLINK Activity Monitoring System.

Results of the study were presented at the APIC 2013 Conference. The authors concluded that during the study period of June to September 2012, there was a 92 percent increase in hand hygiene compliance rates (from 16.5 percent at baseline to 31.7 percent) when an electronic monitoring system was included in a hand hygiene program. During the post-study period the rate decreased to 25.8 percent still significantly above baseline.

“Through the study, we found that implementation of an electronic hand hygiene compliance monitoring system as part of a clinical hand hygiene program can significantly increase hand hygiene compliance,” said Sarah Edmonds, GOJO scientist and lead author of the study. “We also are aware that additional data is needed to better understand the impact of electronic compliance monitoring programs on clinical outcomes, such as infection rates.”

During the study, the GOJO SMARTLINK Activity Monitoring System was installed to monitor all patient room entries and exits and all hand hygiene events from GOJO touch-free soap or PURELL® hand sanitizer dispensers. Compliance was measured as number of events in contrast to number of opportunities, and included the entire community, not only healthcare workers. The study duration was three months during which a comprehensive hand hygiene program for healthcare workers, patient and visitors was implemented. Additional education was established including the development of a hand hygiene improvement goal, leadership support and feedback opportunities for the staff.

Other products reviewed at APIC included i-Scrub, a free application for Apple devices used to electronically collect observed hand hygiene events and SMARTWATCH™, a free web-based tool that allows users to automatically upload, visualize and analyze their data straight from i-Scrub.

“SMARTWATCH was developed by the University of Iowa Computational and Epidemiology department with support from GOJO,” said Rich Clark, Operations Director, GOJO Compliance Business. “SMARTWATCH is a huge time-saver. It automatically collects and organizes observational data which allows infection preventionists to spend time coaching their staff rather than manually creating spreadsheets and reports.”

Hand hygiene is the most important intervention for preventing the spread of disease. Use of electronic monitoring can be a valuable tool for educating healthcare workers on their hand hygiene performance, and tracking hand hygiene performance improvements. GOJO Industries has installed SMARTLINK™ Activity Monitoring System at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, JPS Health Network and many other hospital systems and is actively preparing for compliance installation at other hospital systems throughout the country. Through the SMARTLINK systems installed at hospitals, GOJO is approaching two million hand hygiene events recorded, which is based on the average rate of events recorded every five seconds. 

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