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Now, soap-sniffing technology to ensure health-workers’ hand-hygiene

Washington, June 4 (ANI): Health care workers will not be careless about hand hygiene anymore, thanks to a new system called HyGreen that monitors health-care workers’ hand hygiene by detecting sanitizer or soap fumes given off from their hands.

Developed by researchers at the University of Florida, the technology uses sensors capable of detecting drugs in breath to detect soap fumes, and is the first system that enables real-time monitoring of hand washing.

It can remind workers to clean their hands to remove disease-causing organisms such as the bacteria MRSA, and hence could help reduce hospital-acquired infections and save millions of dollars now spent to treat them.

HyGreen, records, down to the second, the frequency of hand cleaning and contact with patients in a database that clinical supervisors can review immediately.

“This isn’t big brother, this is just another tool. A hospital worker never wants to be responsible for someone getting sick or dying from an infection acquired in the hospital,” said Dr. Richard J. Melker, a UF College of Medicine anesthesiology professor who developed the technology with his colleagues.

And now, HyGreen is being tested in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit at Shands at UF medical centre.

It starts working when a health-care worker squirts sanitizer gel or soap into his or her hand before passing it under a wall-mounted sensor.

A wireless signal from a badge worn by the worker activates a green light on the hand-washing sensor, and when the worker enters a patient room, a monitor near the bed detects the status of the badge, and flashes green if the person has clean hands.

In case, the person has not washed, or too much time has passed between washing and approaching the patient, the badge will give a gentle “reminder” vibration.

Studies have shown that up to half of all hospital-acquired infections might be prevented if health-care workers washed their hands according to guidelines set forth by the CDC.

“This system is a noninvasive way of measuring – it allows for nonbiased measurement and is unobtrusive,” said Loretta Fauerbach, Shands at UF director of infection control.

“Nobody has ever taken a systems approach to this problem before,” said Melker, chief technology officer of Xhale Inc., which is marketing HyGreen.

The system will be presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (ANI)

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