Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Wash your hands, or get buzzed!

Here's a clever device and system, designed at the MIT Media Lab, that helps clinicians remember to wash their hands.  An excerpt:

Called MedSense Clear, the system revolves around a badge worn by hospital staff. The badge can tell when a worker comes near or leaves a patient’s side, and whether that worker has used an alcohol-based sanitizer or soap dispenser during those times. It also vibrates to remind workers to wash up. The badge then sends data to a base station that pushes the data to a Web page where individuals can monitor their hand-washing, and administrators can see data about overall hand-hygiene compliance among staff.

The question, I guess, is whether the buzzing will end up being another cause of alarm fatigue--only to be ignored or bypassed in some way.  The results of the initial study was promising:

A 2014 study in the Journal of Infection and Public Health concluded that compliance with WHO hand-washing rules jumped 25 percent in one month when staff used MedSense in a 16-bed hospital unit at Salmaniya Medical Complex in Bahrain. 

We have to wonder if this is the Hawthorne Effect at work. How persistent is the effect? Time will tell.


Martyna Skowron-Collins said...

From Facebook:

It would also be helpful if the badge had a chip to count buzzes and therefore aggregate and report data on hand washing.

Bart Windrum said...

I wish the world would talk in terms of disinfecting rather than washing, which is the real purpose. I don't understand, in a world of precision language, which this topic seems to be singled out for sloppy mindspace. I note, too, that the wearer depicted in the ad appears to be a nurse rather than a doc.

Anonymous said...

If they buzzed the right part of the anatomy, I bet they would never have another miss.

If they did ... you might have to wonder about them.

Paul Levy said...

You are very funny!