According to a recent USA Today article, healthcare-associated infections affect nearly 1 in 25 hospital patients.
About one in 25 hospital patients in the U.S. pick up an infection during their care, according to a new estimate from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Such infections are preventable but still happen 721,800 times a year, affecting 648,000 patients, say CDC researchers reporting Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. About 11% of those patients die.1
That is an incredibly high number, one that can easily be lowered. The majority of these infections are 100% preventable. CDC Director Tom Frieden recently discussed healthcare-associated infections in an article on Fox News:
Today and every day, more than 200 Americans with health care-associated infections will die during their hospital stay. The most advanced medical care won’t work if clinicians don’t prevent infections through basic things such as regular hand hygiene.2
During our time at the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) Technology Showcase, we spoke with a company that is taking on this problem. Clean Hands Safe Hands has developed an ingenious system to increase hospital hand washing, and thus prevent infections.
The Clean Hands Safe Hands System is a cost-effective, non-intrusive, wireless technology designed to help hospitals remind providers to use the hand sanitizer and monitor compliance.3
Essentially, Clean Hands Safe Hands (CHSH) installs sanitizing stations in areas that the hospital wants to monitor. The stations provide a cue to remind the staff to wash or sanitize their hands. “When a staff member with a CHSH badge enters the room, the base station will verbally remind them to wash their hands in the event that they forget to do so.”4
It makes sense. Hospital staff members are incredibly overworked. At the end of a long shift, it is easy to forget to wash your hands.
We had a chance to speak with the CHSH team at the ATDC showcase. They told us a bit more about why and how they are taking on the problem:
- Kim Painter, USA Today, “New estimate: 1 in 25 hospital patients get an infection,” 26 March 2014 ▲
- Tom Frieden, M.D., Fox News, “CDC Director: Hospital infections down but still deadly, dangerous,” March 26, 2014 ▲
- Clean Hands Safe Hands Website ▲
- Clean Hands Safe Hands, “How it Works” ▲