Handwashing success for Wolverhampton trust

Introduction of Real Time Locating System from TeleTracking Technologies increases hand hygiene compliance by 1000% in one month

Hand hygiene compliance has increased dramatically since the implementation of the RTLS

Efforts by the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust to enhance infection control among staff have paid off, with reports that monitoring of hand hygiene increased by 1,000% in a single month.

The trust has deployed TeleTracking Technologies’ Real Time Locating System (RTLS) as part of its Safe Hands programme, an organisation-wide, government-funded initiative that aims to improve staff compliance with handwashing standards.

The system monitors visits to handwashing stations using infra-red and radio-frequency technology that detects electronic badges attached to patients, staff and equipment. This allows infection prevention nurses to view and improve the hand hygiene behaviours.

In the past year the technology recorded more than 1.2 million instances of handwashing, compared to just 600 recordings made by an observer in person over the same time period.

TeleTracking’s RTLS technology also enabled the trust’s New Cross Hospital to increase handwashing monitoring by 1,000% in a single month.

In one case early in the rollout of the system, an infected patient in Wolverhampton came into contact with hospital staff, patients, and equipment 217 times before a diagnosis was made. This is why it is so hard to contain norovirus and C.difficile

Clare Nash, registered nurse and programme manager at the trust, said: “Good handwashing practices are crucial for patient safety. The million-plus handwashing observations gives us a greater chance of being compliant with safety standards and, ultimately, protecting our patients and staff from the spread of infections.”

In cases of healthcare associated infection (HCAI) outbreak, TeleTracking’s RTLS technology can track the role of every badged staff member who comes in contact with an infected patient and send location and time data back to computer touchscreens in each department. Infection prevention and control nurses used to conduct time-consuming root cause analyses to understand HCAI outbreaks, but they can now run a report at the click of a button.

“In one case early in the rollout of the system, an infected patient in Wolverhampton came into contact with hospital staff, patients, and equipment 217 times before a diagnosis was made. This is why it is so hard to contain norovirus and C.difficile,” said Nash.

The power of this data is remarkable. It shows us how important it is to get an infected patient isolated as soon as possible

“Now the system pinpoints those who have come into contact with the patient, enabling rapid isolation and screening.

“The power of this data is remarkable. It shows us how important it is to get an infected patient isolated as soon as possible.”

Michael Gallup, TeleTracking’s president, added: “This is a major breakthrough for infection prevention and control, but it is only the start. Looking ahead, we now have the technology in place at the trust to transform its operations management, supporting its ambition to continually improve patients' experiences and outcomes.”

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