Can You Hear Me? (Phase 2 of our Hand Hygiene Improvement Process)

By Clean Hands - Safe Hands

What’s the primary goal of your hand hygiene monitoring? Is it really just about monitoring? No! You don’t use a thermometer to treat a septic patient, nor a CT to treat a patient who is suspected to have had a stroke. Simply monitoring a problem doesn’t make it better; you need a way to help fix the problem.

We have seen numerous cases where improving hand hygiene monitoring, whether through direct observation or other electronic systems, doesn’t work. If you don’t believe us, go ask your Director of Infection Control. They will have plenty of examples.

Our company started 11 years ago at the request of clinicians who wanted to use technology to “remind them to clean their hands.” This foundation is unique and core to how we operate with all our hospital partners. We leverage the power of technology to drive process improvement using our unique, data-driven process.

We’ve found that real-time voice feedback is critical in changing clinician behavior. Like many of the current technologies on the market, our very first prototype had a red, beeping light. We were fortunate to have one of our physician collaborators immediately tell us: “No beeps! Everything in the ICU beeps at me, and I ignore them all except the ventilator.”

This was before alarm fatigue became the now well-documented phenomenon, but the principle behind it is the key to our success. Beeps don’t work because there are so many unnecessary ones in a hospital. Whether it comes from an IV pump or a hand hygiene badge, they don’t work and all they do is aggravate the staff. And these “Gotcha” systems that only serve to catch behavior are negative and punitive.

Let’s keep the goal in mind – what we really want to do is change the behavior of the clinicians and not just monitor the problem. We have seen over and over that the most effective reminder and most impactful way to change your behavior is the human voice. Think about it – if you’re a mother, no matter how busy and distracted you are, if you hear a little voice say “Mommy,” you immediately stop what you’re doing and turn around. The human voice has the ability to cut through alarms and capture attention like nothing else.

Our patented Real-Time Voice Reminder™ is the only one on the market. If a clinician fails to clean their hands when entering or exiting a patient room, a gentle voice tells them to “Please sanitize.” We encourage hospitals to customize the voice to their hand hygiene slogans or a familiar voice (think hospital CEO), as this is the more effective.

We’ve found time and again that simply turning on the voice doubles or even triples hand hygiene performance rates. And this typically leads to a reduction in HAIs of 74-80%. We always knew the human voice was powerful – now you can leverage it to reduce infections and healthcare costs, and even save lives.


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