Transmitter tracks health-care workers’ washing

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Despite constant reminders and a high-level of industrywide awareness, studies indicate that less than half of American health care workers wash their hands as frequently as they ought to. This contributes to the health-care-associated infections that kill tens of thousands annually. Now, NPR’s Gigi Douban reports, one Alabama hospital has resorted to high-tech monitoring devices to keep tabs on the handwashing practices of its employees.

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Photo by Arlington County via Flickr.

Workers wear a special wireless transmitter, from which, Douban writes, “the hospital can tell when she entered a patient’s room, whether she washed her hands and whether she washed again on the way out. The information is sent to hospital officials, including the CEO.”

“If they’re habitually not complying, we can send them an e-mail or send them a text message, something that goes to them personally,” says Harvey Nix, CEO of Proventix, the company that developed the monitoring system at Baptist Princeton.

According to Douban, the CDC is currently investigating the effects of the technology upon the behavior of health workers.

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