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Handwashing monitoring solution comes to Canada

Heather McLarneyCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Deb Group announced that it will introduce its DebMed GMS (Group Monitoring System) into Canada, starting in May. The system can monitor the use of soap and sanitizer in a ward or work environment, including at the point-of-care, and report on compliance rates in real-time.

The advantage of the system over badge-based solutions, says Deb Group, is that group performance rather than individual compliance is monitored. “Individual monitoring can be seen as a Big Brother approach,” commented Heather McLarney (pictured), Vice President of Marketing for DebMed North America, during a meeting at the HIMSS 2014 conference in Orlando, Fla.

“When you want to change behaviour, it’s better to be positive and encourage the ward to work together as a team rather than single out individuals,” she added.

McLarney mentioned that Mount Sinai Hospital, in Toronto, is currently trialing the system, which makes use of the technology in both the wall-based dispensers and the point-of-care dispensers at the patient bedside. “We’re the only ones who currently have the ability to monitor hand hygiene activity within the patient zone,” said McLarney.

A stand-alone system, the DebMed GMS can be installed in any hospital without the need for pre-existing real-time locating systems (RTLS) or radio-frequency identification (RFID), resulting in a cost-effective alternative to the manual and inaccurate method of direct observation typically used to track hand hygiene compliance in healthcare facilities today.

Using the innovative solution, hospitals can monitor compliance rates based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Four Moments for Hand Hygiene.”

• Before initial patient or patient environment contact
• Before an aseptic procedure
• After body fluid exposure risk
• After patient or patient environment contact

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year in the United States, 1.7 million healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are responsible for 99,000 fatalities, making it one of the leading causes of death, trailing only cardiovascular disease and cancer.

In Canada, about 250,000 people – or one out of every nine patients admitted to the hospital each year – acquire infections while being treated for something else. Each year, more than 8,000 patients die from those infections.

Antibiotic-resistant organisms add $40 to $52 million to the annual direct and indirect costs of providing care. As such, healthcare-associated infections were the 11th leading cause of death two decades ago, but are now the fourth leading cause of death for Canadians (behind cancer, heart disease and stroke).

With the DebMed GMS, hospitals are now able to identify the actual number of hand hygiene events that take place in each area of the hospital in real-time.

McLarney noted the system can track how many times staff members are using soap and santizer versus how many times they are supposed to. The formula changes dynamically depending on the number of staff and patients in the unit, using metrics that are unique to each particular hospital.

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