Exploring new approaches to improve hand hygiene monitoring in healthcare

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Abstract

Objective Hand-mediated transmission of micro-organisms is a major factor for the spread of healthcare associated infections. Ensuring that optimal hand hygiene (HH) practices are followed remains a challenge and monitoring remains a key activity in measuring healthcare professional's adherence to HH protocols. This paper describes the role that methods from engineering, specifically Morphological Analysis (MA), can play in developing and improving the efficacy of HH monitoring in healthcare. MA is a process of considering the required functions or features of a system and then identifying all possible methods to fulfil them. Considering the different methods to achieve each function or feature results in new ways of addressing a challenging problem and can pave the way for innovative system design. Methods Using an expert discussion panel of infection prevention specialists, MA was applied as a means to discuss the current system of HH monitoring and explore possible future system improvements. Results The discussion revealed themes of; The adequacy of current HH monitoring systems; Goals of HH monitoring improvement; Access to HH monitoring data for patients; The value of MA to identify new possibilities for HH monitoring. Conclusions The application of morphological analysis has highlighted how condition monitoring may improve HH monitoring. Condition monitoring measures, such as staff satisfaction, may be a useful addition to existing HH monitoring measures and aid meaning for the recipients of HH feedback data. Additionally, these may also potentially indicate a forthcoming change, both positive and negative, in HH behaviour.

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Mackrill, J., Dawson, C., Garvey, B., & Gould, D. (2017). Exploring new approaches to improve hand hygiene monitoring in healthcare. Infection, Disease and Health, 22(1), 21–27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.idh.2016.12.004

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