Hand hygiene monitoring technology: a systematic review of efficacy

J Hosp Infect. 2015 Jan;89(1):51-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2014.10.005. Epub 2014 Oct 31.


Electronic and video monitoring systems (EMS/VMS) may improve hand hygiene by providing feedback, real-time reminders or via the Hawthorne effect. The aim of this systematic review was to assess the efficacy of EMS/VMS in improving hand hygiene or reducing the incidence of healthcare-associated infection (HCAI). Experimental and quasi-experimental studies were included if they measured any hand hygiene outcome and/or HCAI incidence. Of the studies included, seven used system-defined compliance (SDC) (N = 6) or hand hygiene event rate (N = 1) as their outcome. SDC differed for all systems. Most (N = 6) were single ward studies. Two uncontrolled pretest‒post-test studies evaluating EMS that provided voice prompts showed increases in SDC, but risk of bias was high. Two uncontrolled time-series analyses of VMS that provided aggregate feedback demonstrated large, sustained improvement in SDC and were at moderate risk of bias. One non-randomized controlled trial of EMS with aggregate feedback found no difference in hand hygiene frequency but was at high risk of bias. Two studies evaluated EMS providing individual feedback and real-time reminders. A pretest‒post-test study at high risk of bias showed an increase in SDC. An RCT at low risk of bias showed 6.8% higher SDC in the intervention arm partially due to a fall in SDC in the control arm. In conclusion, the overall study quality was poor. The study at lowest risk of bias showed only a small increase in SDC. VMS studies at moderate risk of bias showed rapid and sustained increases in SDC. Data were insufficient to recommend EMS/VMS. Future studies should prioritize testing of VMS using stronger study designs including control arms and validated, system-independent measures of hand hygiene.

Keywords: Compliance; Electronic monitoring systems; Hand hygiene; Hand hygiene monitoring technology; Systematic review; Video monitoring systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Hand Disinfection / methods*
  • Hand Hygiene*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient / prevention & control*
  • Technology