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March 08, 2011


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Jared Houck

It's a given that hand-washing is the single-most important step in preventing infection. This system is an interesting idea, but it's only half-baked. What happens if I just need to grab something out of the patient's room or step into the room just to talk with the patient? You get dinged for not washing your hands. What happens if I leave this ID badge on the desk outside the room? Hooray, I never get dinged ever again. It's too easy to thwart and it will be thwarted. The organization just spent big bucks and our infection rates haven't budged.

Peter Mojica

HI Michael,

If a hospital is using this solution as a KPI for employees, which can affect their performance and evaluation reviews, it would need to have near 100% accuracy, at least in my book. For monitoring of hand washing RTLS vendors are typically relying on what they do well, which is to detect location and as of late proximity and duration to a relative location, such as a hand washing station.

The concern for that scenario is that proximity to a hand washing station does not actually mean that a hand washing event occurred, all its really doing is reporting what it knows to be true, that this badge has come into proximity of this location for this amount of time, and in some instances they will detect if a dispense was activated from a hand washing station, which does not help at a sink or if the dispensing unit is empty. These technologies rely solely on a method of deduction (if you are near a hand washing station, for this amount of time, and you ...) to make a best guess that a hand washing event occurred. In many instances systems that perform "good enough" work OK, but when compliance is involved and employee performance recordings on their permanent records are at stake then false positives and "good enough" are not OK.

There are other more reliable methods, full disclosure, I work at bioVIGIL Systems.

Peter Mojica
bioVIGIL Systems

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