A busy hospital can inadvertently foster inefficiencies as staff move around the facility. While hand hygiene technology is designed to improve hand hygiene performance and patient safety, it can do so much more. The technology can also bring to light inefficiencies – and even dangerous situations – that were previously unknown to the organization. Here are some real examples.
- We noticed that hand hygiene performance for one of our customers dropped drastically every Monday morning among nurses. It turned out that, after the weekend when no tests were run for patients, Monday mornings were pandemonium as patients were moved in and out of their rooms for tests and procedures. It was so busy that clinicians were more likely to forget to clean their hands. The hospital didn’t realize this, and in collaboration with the hospital leadership, the physicians on the unit allowed the staff to have the entire day to conduct routine tests. We found that not only did hand hygiene rates go up, but the staff stopped dreading the Monday morning shift.
- Another hospital had a team dedicated to the care of central lines. Their supply carts were too big to fit inside rooms, so they’d stay parked in the hallway. Clinicians would go in and out of the room every time they needed supplies and they typically did not clean their hands. The staff were doing what was practical but this presented a significant risk to the organization because they could be transferring infections to the cart and to other patients. Our system alerted the hospital to this inefficient and potentially dangerous situation. The hospital changed their policies to provide supplies next to each room’s bed instead.
- One customer had installed glove boxes near the hallway door, away from hand sanitizers and the patient care area. Our voice reminder highlighted these inefficiencies and we were able to look at the workflow data alongside hospital leadership. Glove boxes were moved next to the patient’s bed, which saved time and resulted in better hand hygiene practices.
- Finally, a hospital’s hand hygiene performance was good for all patient rooms except for those across the hall from the supply closet. This seemed counterintuitive, but it turned out clinicians in those rooms didn’t plan ahead since supplies were so close. They’d pop in and out of the room and cross the hall every time they needed supplies. And they didn’t always clean their hands every time they entered and exited the patient room. We worked with the clinicians and hospital leadership to understand and address what ended up being a workflow inefficiency. We were able to leverage our data so that clinicians in every room now plan ahead and gather all their supplies in advance, increasing both efficiency and patient safety.
Many hospitals find the workflow data that hand hygiene performance technology provides to be an added advantage beyond the very tangible benefits they expected when they installed the system.