Summerville Medical Center using unique hand washing monitoring - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Summerville Medical Center using unique hand washing monitoring technology

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Summerville Medical Center is leading the way in the fight to lower hospital infection rates. They have worked with GE Healthcare on new hand washing tracking technology.

"We've never had an infection issue, but we want to be proactive. We want to make sure that we are ahead of the curve. So we worked with GE to develop this technology to allow us to measure that," Summerville Medical Center CEO Louis Caputo said.

The technology has been in development at Summerville Medical since 2009 and in full use exclusively at the facility since early 2012.

"It's important to us to be able to do that because we want to be proactive in making sure that we avoid hospital associated infections," Caputo said.

Employees have sensors embedded with their name badges.

"All employees that will have interaction with a patient are badged," Caputo explained.

Every time they enter or exit a patient's room they are required to wash their hands or use a gel sanitizer.

"That sensor detects that someone has received soap or gel. It identifies who that individual is with their badge. But what it will also do is if I walk into the room and do not get the gel or the soap, it will say that I am not compliant," Caputo said.

All that information is stored in a master database where supervisors can see who is in compliance and who is not.

Caputo was able to show us in a demonstration how one employee was better with hand washing when exiting a room than when entering.

"We've got 11 individuals who are only showing a 10% compliance and that is unfortunate. Those are the individuals who we will engage with in conversation," Caputo said.

Hospital administrators have seen a marked increase in hand washing.

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