Services & Specialties March 17, 2016

Adena Developer Creates App to Monitor Hand Hygiene

National Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 13-19

As the nation’s caregivers celebrate National Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 13-19, Adena Health System recognizes how important proper hand hygiene is in stopping the spread of disease and saving lives.

Thanks to a new Adena-created Smartphone app, the Health System is observing its caregiver’s hand hygiene habits through just a few simple clicks.

In the past, Adena’s hand hygiene observations consisted of “secret shoppers” who spent time on a nursing unit to monitor and chart the hand hygiene-related actions of caregivers. Information was documented on a form, and the observer usually was armed with a clipboard. The data from these observations would then be compiled into a usable format to identify good or poor behaviors. However, caregivers could easily identify the “secret shoppers,” and its likely results were not in line with some caregivers’ normal hand hygiene routine.

Striving for continuous improvement, John Pretak, an Adena Business Intelligence Software Architect, was tasked by leaders to improve how the Health System monitors caregiver hand hygiene. Pretak put his web design background to use, developing an app that is moving this process into the digital age.

“It was important to develop something that was easy to use,” said Pretak. “Everyone has a phone, so why not make an app? Get away from the paper environment to a digital one that could provide immediate feedback. It would make the process that much simpler.”

Pretak took just two days to develop the app. The web-based application takes just a few clicks to accurately track a caregiver’s routine; and color-coded icons match the color of Adena caregiver’s assigned uniform color to easily identify the person being monitored. Then with a few clicks, the observer identifies if the caregiver “washed hands with soap for more/less than 15 seconds;” “used hand sanitizer;” or “no hand hygiene.” The data is now easily compiles to identify areas in compliance, and those in need of additional caregiver education.

“The concept is to have our observations accurately reflect the true behaviors within the inpatient units,” explained Pretak. “This app records a time stamp telling when and where everything happens. We know who is doing the observation, as well as the discipline of the person being observed.”

Adena Regional Medical Center recently scored its first-ever ‘A’ rating on the Fall 2015 Hospital Safety Score Survey, by respected national healthcare safety firm, Leapfrog.