Apps reduce HAIs, up hand hygiene compliance

Despite the national attention, need and financial incentives for preventing healthcare associated infections, a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control concluded there are few apps on the market geared towards supporting HAI prevention, and the functionality of those that are available is very narrow and primarily limited to providing information.

Researchers perused three online mobile application stores using general infection-related terms as well as those specific to HAIs and found a total of 2,646 potentially relevant apps, 17 of which made the cut for inclusion based on relevance to infections in a healthcare setting. Those 17 were then evaluated based the following functionalities.

• Inform: The app provides information in a variety of formats such as text, photo or video.
• Instruct: The app provides instructions to the user, such as providing specific instructions on how to prevention HAIs, rather than information for education only.
• Record: The app captures user-entered data.
• Display: The app graphically displays user-entered data and provides an output, such as displaying reports, data or prior observations.
• Guide: The app provides guidance based on user-entered information, such as offering a diagnosis or recommending a consultation with a physician or a course of treatment.
• Remind/alert: The app provides reminders to the user.
• Communicate: The app provides communication between providers, patients, consumers, caregivers and/or administrators.

If the app was designed to record data, it was assessed based on the following.

• Collect data: The app allows users to enter and store health data on individual phone.
• Share data: The app is able to transmit health data.
• Evaluate data: The app is able to evaluate the entered health data by patient and provider, provider and administrator, or patient and caregiver.
• Intervene: The app is able to send alerts based on the data collected or propose behavioral interventions or changes, such as an alert to contact a provider.

"There is a great opportunity for the integration of patient-centered outcomes research evidence into mHealth tools for HAI prevention," the researchers write. "Ultimately, collaboration between infection prevention specialists and app developers will likely yield the greatest end products and be the most likely to affect changes in outcomes."

More articles on infection control:

25 lessons from a patient survey of adverse medical events
Don't wait for chance: 5 steps to purposefully make innovative ideas work
Top 10 infection control stories, June 22-26 

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