Two Irish medical technology companies, SureWash and MEG Support Tools, have collaborated with the global hand hygiene company GOJO and one of the leading cancer hospitals in Europe, The Christie in Manchester, to demonstrate how “smart hospital” technology can reduce infections without the need for lots of extra personnel. A recent outbreak of CPE (carbapenemase-producing enterobacteriaceae) in Irish hospitals indicated the seriousness of this issue, with a mortality rate of 40-50% recorded among infected patients.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) say that good hand hygiene can prevent up to 50% of infections in hospitals. Preventing infections is critical as these so called “super bugs” are resistant to anti-biotics and have a high mortality rate.

Speaking at the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week, Kerrill Thornhill of MEG Support Tools said; “A multimodal approach to improving hygiene standards is critical in combating hospital acquired infections and the reliance on antibiotics. We are working with SureWash to reduce rates of infection and improve the lives of people across the healthcare system.”

The WHO provide guidelines on when to do hand hygiene (the 5 moments) and on how to do hand hygiene (the 6 poses). But validated training and auditing of these guidelines is very resource intensive and sometimes overlooked. The research carried out was published by the American Journal of Infection Control. Results indicated that integrated digital tools can provide both rich data and novel tools that both measure impact and provide feedback to support the implementation of multimodal hand hygiene campaigns.

The infection control team in the Christie Hospital describe how live data from the MEG audit app, the SureWash interactive training kiosk and GOJO’s SMARTLINK™ dispenser system was combined to create a live data dashboard to facilitate better infection risk management. Analytics were run on the live data to provide actionable feedback to both staff and patients if the standards of hand hygiene practice were slipping.

Patients and their families have a key role to play in infection prevention. However, there are few if any resources available to training patients in clinical infection prevention. During the study, patients were encouraged to learn about hand hygiene using gesture recognition and camera based algorithm technology which teaches them correct hand hygiene technique – 70% of the training episodes were by patients helping them to maintain infection control for wound care post-discharge.

At the annual Infection Prevention Society award in Manchester in September, SureWash & MEG Support Tools also received industry awards voted on by delegates from hospitals across the UK and Ireland.

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