New Ways to Prevent Health-Care Acquired Infections and Conditions, April 8, 2019

New approaches to hand hygiene compliance monitoring can reduce infections, costs and other preventable adverse events, according to “Finding New Ways to Prevent Healthcare-Acquired Infections and Conditions,” a white paper developed by Valek & Co. for Vitalacy.

Of all the patient safety challenges facing healthcare organizations today, the persistent increase of healthcare-acquired infections and conditions (HAIs and HACs) may be the most vexing. Despite all of the safety culture initiatives and awareness programs emphasizing infection control and hand hygiene, quality and safety leaders in all settings are still struggling with HAIs and HACs.

The incidence of HAIs is increasing as current infection control methods have not stopped preventable infections. A 2017 report published by Castlight Health and the Leapfrog Group shows HAIs rising across all five types examined in the survey: bloodstream infections (CLABSI), catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), surgical site infection after colon surgery (SSI: Colon), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Clostridium difficile (C. diff.).

A case study: improving compliance and reducing infections

In early 2017, the Vitalacy system was implemented in about half the medical and surgical beds in an academic medical center with a higher-than-average HAI rate; this rate was high despite the medical center reporting direct observation hand hygiene compliance rates of more than 90 percent on 1,500 direct observations per quarter.

Immediately after implementation, Vitalacy’s automated hand hygiene compliance tracking found that the actual hand compliance was about 30 percent when healthcare providers did not receive vibration alerts on their Bluetooth-enabled wristbands. After activating the wristband alerts, the compliance rate increased to more than 70 percent over the course of about one week.

Soon after, infection incidence decreased both on the monitored units and medical center-wide for two consecutive quarters. Infection incidence decreased both on the monitored units and medical center-wide for two consecutive quarters. From the January 2017 implementation through September 2018, Vitalacy has reported on more than 1.17 million hand hygiene observations.

Vitalacy delivers patented technology solutions that empower hospitals with data and guidance to reach their patient safety goals. The company measures events impacting patient care providing valuable and sustainable insight to improve patient satisfaction, operational effectiveness, and financial results. Learn more at vitalacy.com.

@ Valek & Company 2016