A new study by the Greenville Health System (GHS) of South Carolina found that an electronic hand hygiene monitoring system led to a 42 percent reduction in hospital-acquired Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections.
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Researchers analyzed data from the monitoring system and found that there was a 25.5 percent increase in compliance with the World Health Organizations’ Five Moments hand cleanliness guidelines. The guidelines encompass the five times healthcare workers should wash their hands when interacting with patients, including:
- Prior to touching a patient
- Prior to aseptic procedures such as touching a patient’s broken skin
- After coming into contact with a patient’s bodily fluids
- After touching a patient
- After handling a patient’s surroundings
The World Health Organization created these guidelines so that healthcare employees could understand the risk of spreading infections and reduce the risk by implementing a handwashing protocol.
GHS estimates that increased compliance with the handwashing guidelines from July 2012 through March 2015 saved approximately $434,000 in health care costs.
Observation Improves Handwashing Hygiene
The study has allowed health officials to move away from direct observation of hand hygiene, which did not monitor patient’s rooms. The new system increases observation of healthcare professionals, which has been proven to make them do a better job complying with handwashing guidelines.
This is all good news for patients who are often exposed to healthcare employees’ poor hygiene practices and could contract serious or even fatal infections because of it.