Background: Poor hand hygiene by health care workers is a major cause of nosocomial infections. This research evaluated the ability of an electronic monitoring system with real-time prompting capability to change hand hygiene behaviors.
Methods: Handwashing activity was measured by counting dispenser activations on a single nursing unit before, during, and after installation of the system. The effect of changing the prompt duration on hand hygiene performance was determined by a cluster-randomized trial on 3 nursing units with 1 acting as control. Sustainability of performance and participation was observed on 4 nursing units over a year. All staff were eligible to participate.
Results: Between June 2015 and December 2016, a total of 459,376 hand hygiene opportunities and 330,740 handwashing events from 511 staff members were recorded. Dispenser activation counts were significantly influenced by use of the system (χ2 = 75.76; P < .0001). Hand hygiene performance dropped from 62.61% to 24.94% (odds ratio, 0.36; 95% confidence interval, 0.34-0.38) when the prompting feature was removed. Staff participation had a negative trajectory of -0.72% (P < .001), whereas change in average performance was -0.18% (P < .001) per week for the year.
Conclusions: Use of electronic monitoring with real-time prompts of 20 seconds' duration nearly doubles handwashing activity and causes handwashing to occur sooner after entering a patient room. These improvements are sustainable over a year.
Keywords: Compliance; Electronic monitoring; Health care-acquired; Infection control.
Copyright © 2018 Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.