US Startup BioVigil to Improve Hand Hygiene Compliance in Hospitals

Summation

  • ” Amanda Valyko who is the Infection Director at Michigan Medicine says that handwashing is one of the ‘key things that is learned and practiced in health care.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), failure to wash hands regularly contributes to the spread of infections affecting 1 in 31 hospital patients each day.
  • Powered by the new ‘AccuWash Technology,’ the monitoring system works by using sensors or “beacons” fitted on doorways and hand hygiene areas in hospital rooms.

American startup BioVigil has deployed its automated hand hygiene compliance system in more than 50 US hospitals and overseas to help reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) as reported by CBS News. Hand hygiene is vital to prevent infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), failure to wash hands regularly contributes to the spread of infections affecting 1 in 31 hospital patients each day. With this monitoring system, HAIs are expected to decrease by 83%.

Hospital and Healthcare Workers’ Sanitation

The CDC estimates that around 75,000 people on average die each year from hospital acquired infections. Hence, hospital cleaning is crucial in ensuring patient safety, preventing infections, and maintaining a healthy environment for both patients and healthcare workers. Proper cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and equipment are essential to prevent the spread of infections and HAIs as well as superbugs and viruses. It also reduces the risk of accidents such as slips, trips, and falls. Several technologies are being used to improve hospital cleaning and sanitation including the use of robotic scrubbers, ultraviolet disinfection, and antimicrobial surface protectants.

Another important strategy to contain HAIs is to enforce strict hand hygiene protocols. Hand hygiene is a simple yet powerful practice that can significantly impact patients outcomes and the overall safety of healthcare settings. Unfortunately, hand washing cannot be done enough. In this regard, BioVigil developed an ‘automated hand hygiene compliance system’ to remind healthcare personnel to wash or sanitize their hands. Regrettably, observance in hospital settings can be as low as 40% according to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BioVigil, Sanjay Gupta. Their monitoring system can enhance compliance to 97%. Says Gupta, “We have close to 600 million opportunities with our customers, and the sustained hygiene compliance is 97%. So, from day one, we are able to take the compliance from 40% to 97%. And because of that infections drop.” 

How It Works

Powered by the new ‘AccuWash Technology,’ the monitoring system works by using sensors or “beacons” fitted on doorways and hand hygiene areas in hospital rooms. Sophisticated sensors detect when hands are in the sink that start  a timer. Each healthcare professional wears a badge that will keep track of their handwashing activities.  The badge registers how often staff wash their hands. Thus, if a worker has not performed hand hygiene, a reminder will be sent through a tone or vibration. It will send notices multiple times. According to Gupta, “because of those reminders, the healthcare compliance truly goes up.” 

In essence, the badge provides real-time feedback to the wearer and people they interact with by changing colors. It turns green when the hands are clean and reached the CDC-recommended 20-second duration or red when the individual fails to wash their hands. BioVigil has also installed their sensors and badges in a couple of children’s hospitals.  The hospitals told Gupta that the system is a “lifesaver.” It “gives so much comfort to the families that their patients, their kids, are taken care of properly.” Amanda Valyko who is the Infection Director at Michigan Medicine says that handwashing is one of the ‘key things that is learned and practiced in health care. She adds that it is “the foundation of preventing infections in hospitals.” 

Handwashing is not only vital in healthcare settings. The compliance technology can also be used in commercial food preparation, restaurants, schools, and other scenarios.

 

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