Nurses have no patience for hand hygiene systems that interfere with their clinical workload.
Given the choice between missing hand hygiene but performing timely, necessary care or diligently performing hand hygiene but missing the opportunity to provide necessary care, most nurses will opt to provide care. Busy nurses don’t have time to waste.
Hand hygiene systems that don’t adapt to clinical workflows create unnecessary, frustrating hurdles for healthcare workers and patients – which can, ironically, decrease hand hygiene performance. For optimal hand hygiene, you need a system that adjusts to varying clinical circumstances.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to hand hygiene,” says Dr. Chris Hermann, CEO of Clean Hands-Safe Hands. “Workflows around hand hygiene change from patient to patient. Nurses very appropriately don’t have tolerance for systems that require them to change their clinical process.”
In everyday life, we’re reminded (and often, required by law) to wear seatbelts in motor vehicles. Seatbelt usage contributes to passenger and driver safety, so we’re instructed to fasten our seatbelts each time we enter a car, truck, van, or airplane. But trash collectors and postal service workers don’t always buckle up on the job. Their work requires them to exit their vehicles multiple times per day. Repeated buckling and unbuckling would inhibit their ability to efficiently provide service.
Safety procedures are important – and unlikely to be followed consistently if they do not accommodate the demands of the job.
It’s relatively easy for healthcare workers to sanitize their hands before and after patient care if the patient doesn’t have any unique needs that require workflow adaptations. It’s more difficult to perform hand hygiene in a timely manner if the patient is in isolation due to suspected tuberculosis or COVID-19, for instance, because it takes extra time to don a gown, mask, and gloves. A hand hygiene system that’s buzzing to remind nurses to sanitize while they’re still gowning up will be considered an annoyance, not a help.
Alcohol-based hand rubs are great for hand sanitation – in most cases. They are not recommended for use when interacting with or caring for patients with suspected or confirmed C. difficile infections, as alcohol-based products cannot kill C. diff spores. The Infectious Disease Society of America recommends that staff perform hand hygiene with soap and water before and after caring for patients with C. diff.
In practice, it can be difficult for busy staff members to remember to alter their hand hygiene practices from room to room. It’s also difficult to efficiently communicate the need for alternative hand hygiene to all personnel who may need to enter affected rooms.
Clean Hands-Safe Hands’ patented Adaptive Room Modes adjust to clinical workflows. In isolation mode, the system allows extra time for providers to don and doff personal protective equipment. In C. diff. mode, the Natural Language Voice Reminder tells staff to “sanitize with soap and water.” Because adaptive room modes can be integrated with most medical record systems, the Clean Hands-Safe Hands system can automatically remind staff to use soap and water even before a C. diff infection has been laboratory confirmed. Early initiation of soap-and-water hand sanitation may prevent additional spread of infection.
“Because the system pulls from the EMR, many times the system is reminding staff to use soap and water even before isolation signage and a PPE caddy is placed outside the patient room,” Hermann says. “Not only does that keep your patients safer; it keeps your staff safer.”
Adaptive room modes can be set either automatically (via integration with the EMR or infection surveillance software) or manually. Clean Hands-Safe Hands can also work with you to create customized adaptive room modes to meet the unique needs for your healthcare facility.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care state, “Understanding and employing the correct method and technique at the correct moment is highly likely to result in optimum compliance with hand hygiene and maximum safety of patients and staff.” Clean Hands-Safe Hands Adaptive Room Modes dramatically increase the likelihood that staff will employ the correct method and technique of hand hygiene at the correct moment.