The Technology Adoption Curve has become a familiar sight of late, since it can apply to the adoption of nearly any innovation. The 2.5% of the population that are Innovators typically see the greatest benefit from being first to adopt something new, but they also sometimes face the biggest risks, since the innovation may be unproven at that point.
The electronic hand hygiene monitoring industry has now moved to the Early Adopter phase, having already been embraced and refined by Innovators. The technology has been tested and debugged, so there’s no longer a risk in adopting it.
While there’s still a huge upside for hospitals who come on board during this phase, there’s a limited window to maximize these benefits. Here are the advantages of installing electronic hand hygiene monitoring technology sooner rather than later:
- Getting off and staying off the HAC list. Getting off the HAC list is like running from a bear…you don’t have to outrun the bear; you just have to be faster than the slowest person in the group. Many hospitals have seen results with the “low hanging fruit” of infection control strategies. In order to get off or stay off the HAC list, hospitals need something that most other facilities have not fully leveraged. Hand hygiene is widely regarded as the single most important impactful infection reduction strategy, yet most hospitals still struggle with any meaningful change. This is a huge opportunity to get out in front of the masses and leverage the value of moving early.
- Healthcare is becoming increasingly consumer driven. Patients are becoming more aware of the issue of HAIs thanks to media reports about infection rates and survivor stories on social media. They’re increasingly researching which hospital they should choose for non-emergency procedures, and infection rates play a large part in these decisions. At some point, all hospitals will rely on electronic hand hygiene monitoring and the market will be at parity, but until that day, Early Adopters will have a clear advantage.
- Market differentiation. How does a hospital separate itself from its competitors? By being innovative and ahead of the curve. Some hospitals choose direct observation (which we debunk here and here), and some elect for more advanced, cutting edge technology. Some hospitals just report on hand hygiene performance while others decide to actually change behavior and reduce HAIs.
The new electronic hand hygiene monitoring systems aren’t like the previous generation of RFID or group algorithm-based systems. These older technologies focus only on monitoring and reporting, but leave all the hard work of changing behavior to the hospital.
Today’s technology is much more advanced, offering real-time feedback in the moment to remind clinicians to clean their hands. This is a true innovation that’s making a difference and saving lives. Now is the time to become an Early Adopter and reap the rewards before it’s too late.
Image by Jurgen Appelo, “Innovation Adoption Curve” from book Management 3.0. Used under Creative Commons license, https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurgenappelo/5201275209.