Hospital to install tracking system to monitor employees' hand hygiene

The Albuquerque-based University of New Mexico Hospital plans to install a radio-frequency monitoring system from Ecolab to ensure staff comply with hand hygiene requirements, according to The Albuquerque Journal.

To monitor hand hygiene compliance, the system will use employee badges to track when a physician or nurse enters a patient's room and whether they have cleaned their hands before and after patient contact. The badges will turn red or green and sometimes emit an audio alert to indicate whether providers have washed their hands as they approach patients.

The system will also provide UNMH administrators with data on the hand hygiene compliance of each individual employee. The hospital could end up spending over $1 million for its three-year contract. 

The system replaces UNMH's previous practice of using undercover employees to monitor hand hygiene, which has indicated UNMH staff follow proper hygiene protocols 90 percent of the time. This contrasts with a report from the CDC, which says healthcare workers on average clean their hands less than half of the times they should. 

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