Hygiene Monitoring: The way forward


Can hygiene monitoring devices add value to the clinical routines of healthcare professionals?


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January 22, 2019
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Hygiene Monitoring: The way forward

Transparency in the treatment of patients is a key factor in quality driven medicine. The lack of hygiene is a global problem, even in developed countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on average healthcare providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection. In Germany alone, there are over 500,000 hospital infections and 15,000 estimated deaths per year causing a financial burden of 1.6 billion Euros. The European Union spends more than five billion Euros per year for hospital infections and the problems that come with them. Increased hand disinfection also directly affects costs for infections. A midsized hospital with 500 beds spends around 2.4 million Euros per year for infections out of which 1.2 million Euros of these costs are avoidable.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that hand hygiene contributes significantly to keeping patients safe. It is a simple, low-cost action to prevent the spread of many of the microbes that cause healthcare-associated infections (HAI). While hand hygiene is not the only measure to counter HAI, compliance with it alone can dramatically enhance patient safety, because there is much scientific evidence showing that microbes causing HAI are most frequently spread between patients via the hands of healthcare workers. In addition, healthcare facilities, which readily embrace strategies for improving hand hygiene, also prove more open to a closer scrutiny of their infection control practices in general. Therefore, the knock-on impact of focusing on hand hygiene can lead to an overall improvement in patient safety across an entire organisation.

Monitoring hand-hygiene

In the field of nursing homes, private practices, clinics and hospitals, HygNova ADVANCE® - developed by healthcare professionals for healthcare professionals - is developing technical devices to monitor all relevant moments for hand hygiene. HygNova ADVANCE® is an electronic hand-hygiene monitoring solution, which also distinguishes all five WHO-moments for hand hygiene. Fulfilling all requirements of the WHO for hand hygiene compliance monitoring, HygNova doesn’t interfere with regular workflows of staff. Basically, it uses IoT-motion detection sensors and machine learning to detect hygienic vulnerabilities for medical institutions. “HygNova’s solutions visualise hygiene anonymously through gapless monitoring of hand disinfections and fill informational blind spots with reliable data to avoid hospital infections and to improve healthcare”, says Dr. Ehsan Khaljani, Founder & CEO, HygNova. “It helps in avoiding HAIs by increasing the hand disinfection rate of staff on the long-term.”

The technology

Adaptive IoT-infrared sensors of the HygNova solution anonymously observe motions in rooms; pattern recognition and AI software capture the moments in which hygienic procedures need to be performed. A high ease-of-use guarantees quick implementation in medical institutions: sensors come in one single device, which is mounted over the bed of patients and delivers data within a few seconds. This process doesn’t include any construction work or any staff training because they do not have to interact with the solution.

Going ahead, the data is gathered in User Interface/ User Experience-optimised data dashboards. Teaching and gamification elements in the dashboard prolong usage and motivate improvement of hygiene on the long-term. “HygNova reduces documentation time for stressed staff while hygiene standards can be fulfilled effortlessly. Besides, treatment quality is ensured at any time, 24/7, 365 days a year, tackling increasing lack of personnel and the challenges that come with it,” informs Dr. Khaljani.

Infact Dr. Khaljani, one of the founders of HygNova is an experienced surgeon who had to deal with healthcare-acquired infections throughout his professional career. With an additional background in IT solutions, the idea for a holistic hygiene monitoring device evolved. The idea was executed in a multidisciplinary team which invested resources for over two years. The solution is on the market for no longer than six months, but is already used in various medical institutions across Europe. In Germany, a multicentric study had been launched in October to show the long-term value of the solution in randomized clinical setups.

While focusing its services and distribution in Europe and North America HygNova’s next step will be tapping the Middle Eastern markets. Recently with a German delegation, HygNova visited the World Innovation Summit for Health in Doha/Qatar to understand the Middle Eastern healthcare systems.

The HygNova team will be present at the STEP Conference, Dubai on 13th &14th February, 2019.

About the Author: Dr. Ehsan Khaljani was born in Tehran/Iran in 1983. He is a specialist in urology and a urological surgeon. He co-founded the leading German eLearning platform for medical students and physicians AMBOSS (AMBOSS GmbH) and is now Co-founder and Managing Director of the HygNova GmbH. HygNova improves hygiene in healthcare settings by measuring hand disinfections in all Five Moments for Hand Hygiene. As a lecturer for healthcare management, he shares expertise with future generations. Passionate about challenges, he wants to achieve a social impact with his actions.