How Clean Hands – Safe Hands Supports Hospitals’ COVID-19 Response

By Madison Pittman

COVID-19 is nosocomial which means it transmits through hospitals. At a hospital in Wuhan, China, 41 of the first 138 patients to be diagnosed with COVID-19 caught it within the hospital. Now that the virus has made its way into the United States and transmissions are growing, hospitals need to be prepared to protect both patients and staff.

Clean Hands – Safe Hands customers are leaders on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. They are leveraging technology to help combat the virus as well as keep their staff safe in several innovative ways. These facilities have the Clean Hands – Safe Hands technology installed to capture hand hygiene performance, trace virus exposures, and collect valuable data that can be reported to public health in real time.

When one hospital had a patient test positive for COVID-19 in March, they enacted specific protocols to ensure the safety of patients and providers. Because they have Clean Hands – Safe Hands installed, they were able to leverage the data and the flexibility of the system to help respond to the growing outbreak in some unique and innovative ways. As COVID-19 continues to spread, the unfortunate reality is that this is going to be a problem for many other systems in the very near future.  

One of the unique ways they are using the system is to determine exposure risk of providers. The Clean Hands-Safe Hands system captures data related to provider visits. The hospital is able to use the data to determine which providers have the greatest risk of exposure and need to be quarantined, but perhaps even more importantly, they are able to determine which providers do not need to be quarantined. At a time when provider shortages are a growing concern and resources are dwindling, identifying which providers are safe to continue working is more important than ever. Clean Hands – Safe Hands leverages Performance Bubble Plots™ to make this information easily accessible to hospitals. Each of the bubbles below represent data from one provider in a patient’s room for a shift. The larger and darker the circle, the more interactions, and the greater the exposure they had with the patient. In the example below for a patient with suspected coronavirus, Nurses 2, 3, and 5 would likely need to be quarantined. MD 1 might need to be quarantined as well, but the others would likely be fine with close monitoring.

Similarly, facilities using the system have the capability to identify risky patterns of provider behavior in real-time and intervene before the infection has the opportunity to spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists hand washing as one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of the virus. This protects both the patient and the provider. Unfortunately, when hospitals get busy (like when an outbreak occurs), hand hygiene tends to fall to the wayside. Simply put, the busier a clinician is, the more difficult it is for them to maintain a high hand hygiene performance rate. This creates a very dangerous combination where providers are interacting with lots of different patients and have low hand hygiene.

Clean Hands – Safe Hands customers are leveraging the predictive analytics capabilities of the Real Time Intervention Blueprints™ to help identify these situations before they lead to a spread of infections. These analytics tools analyze the data in real time and identify concerning patterns of provider behavior. Clean Hands – Safe Hands examines the hand hygiene rates, number of patient interactions, and the risk of the organism and sends an alert to the hospital leadership as the concerning pattern develops. The hospital leadership can then go intervene and address the issue before the infection has a chance to spread to other patients. With the spread of COVID-19 which is highly contagious and can live on outside surfaces for extended periods of time, having the ability to intervene and prevent the spread is now more important than ever.

Clean Hands – Safe Hands also partnered with a hospital to help fast-track an implementation of the Hand Hygiene Acceleration Pathway to a specialized quarantine unit. The hospital leadership have set up a unit specifically dedicated to those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are at high exposure risk. They’ve chosen to install Clean Hands – Safe Hands in this specialized unit. With the importance hand hygiene plays on this unique unit, Clean Hands – Safe Hands have been able to leverage the flexibility of the system to accommodate the unique needs of this unit. Some of these changes include developing customized hand hygiene policies and workflows that are needed for these specialized areas, rapidly deploying the Natural Language Voice Reminder, adaptable and unique hand hygiene protocols and reports that are tailored specific to the quarantine unit.

This hospital is collecting actionable data across the whole hospital that can be easily reported to public health officials. This allows public health to see an accurate picture of what hospitals are encountering in order to plan and allocate resources accordingly.

Clean Hands – Safe Hands customers are ahead of the curve in fighting COVID-19.  To learn more about how you can arm your facility with state-of-the-art technology, contact Clean Hands – Safe Hands.

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