What does Big Data have to do with patient safety? You might be surprised.
Our electronic hand hygiene reminder system captures tens of millions of data points. To use another buzzword, we’ve turned formerly “dumb” hand sanitizer and soap dispensers into smart, Internet of Things (IoT) devices by adding a sensor to them. So we know which healthcare provider is in which patient room at what time, as well as whether or not they’ve cleaned their hands. (And if they forget, we gently remind them, which has been wildly successful in reducing HAIs.)
As you can imagine, this adds up to a lot of data points. Each hospital bed can generate 4,000 pieces of data per month or more. That’s a lot of information…and it’s worthless unless it can be acted upon. As an executive at one of our hospital partners said, “You don’t make a chicken heavier by weighing it!”
We’ve found that the key is to make Big Data small again. That is, condense vast reams of data into digestible chunks that are actionable. What does this look like? It can take many forms:
- Clinicians can log in to see their own hand hygiene performance. Maybe it dips in the mornings but improves in the afternoon. When a pattern is pointed out, they can change their behavior.
- Managers can identify the 5% of clinicians that are creating up to 40% of the hospital’s hand hygiene risk. No need to work with 95% of the team – just focus on those needing extra help.
- Which patient rooms have the worst hand hygiene performance today? Managers can get a text message mid-shift so they can investigate and fix any issues before an HAI can spread.
- Are there workflow inefficiencies? Our Big Data can be boiled down to point out problems that may have deceptively simple solutions, allowing the entire hospital to run more efficiently.
Patient care and patient safety improves when Big Data is made small and actionable. Thanks to technology, it’s simple to do and saves lives.
If you’d like to explore how our system typically doubles hand hygiene performance rates and reduces HAIs by up to 75-80%, here’s a brief video about how it works. Or here’s a white paper on How the New Joint Commission Hand Hygiene Standards Could Impact Your Hospital.