Edward-Elmhurst enlists technology to aid hand-washing consistency

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Edward-Elmhurst Health is adopting technology to ensure staff consistency in hand-washing, a simple yet crucial component of a strategy to prevent hospital-acquired infections.

The three-hospital delivery system, which operates 736 beds in the west and southwest suburbs of Chicago, is embarking on a system-wide initiative to ensure that all care team members wash their hands before and after patient encounters.

The organization is using technology from SwipeSense; the vendor’s product can track staff hand hygiene as well as the cleanliness of hospital equipment and other forms of preventable harm, such as patient falls.

Late last year, Edward-Elmhurst started using SwipeSense. About 4,000 employees at Edward and Elmhurst Hospitals are wearing badges that wirelessly communicate with the software to record all hand hygiene events.

The system captures data confirming that clinicians and other employees are washing their hands when they should, and a software platform lets managers know who is washing and who is not complying with the mandate.

Data sent to the SwipeSense platform enables managers to view compliance at the facility, department, unit, room and employee levels to an online dashboard.

Employees have a unique badge identification, and a green light flashes to indicate that data from the badge has been transmitted. Only hygiene opportunities and events associated with patient room visits are recorded.

“As we continue our journey toward safety and high reliability, preventing hospital-acquired infections is a major focus,” says Mary Lou Mastro, System CEO at Edward-Elmhurst. “SwipeSense will help us increase hand-hygiene compliance, aid in the fight against infection and improve our overall patient experience.”

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