Electronic surveillance of wall-mounted soap and alcohol gel dispensers in an intensive care unit

J Hosp Infect. 2007 May;66(1):34-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2007.02.018. Epub 2007 Apr 16.


We describe a battery-powered recording device incorporating a force-sensitive resistor and a microcontroller that records depressions of wall-mounted soap and alcohol gel dispensers. The device has a two-second (2 s) lockout built into it, so that a single record is associated with a single hand-hygiene episode. Recorders were implanted within the wall-mounted dispensers found in two bed areas and the entrance of a 16-bedded intensive care unit. The use of the bed area dispensers was correlated (r) with the dependency of the patient in the open bed area (r=0.5, P<0.01), as assessed using the UK Department of Health critical care minimum data set. Both bed areas and the entrance dispensers showed wide but different fluctuations in use throughout the 24h day. The recording device may help in feedback about soap and gel use for hand-hygiene quality improvement and educational initiatives.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / standards*
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Electronics
  • Gels
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Hand Disinfection / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control* / methods
  • Infection Control* / standards
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Personnel, Hospital
  • Soaps
  • United Kingdom


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Gels
  • Soaps