On the back of company Hyginex asking doctors to wear a high-tech wristband that monitors their hand-washing habits remotely, a new study says that health professionals are not happy with the idea.
The product works in the manner below, as reported by SmartPlanet’s Sarah Korones:
The Hyginex system comprises a cloud-based network of smart wristbands and sensor-equipped faucet, soap, and sanitizer dispensers. If you’re a doctor or nurse approaching a new patient, your presence will trigger a nearby sensor. The unit will then beam a wireless signal to the wristband, setting off an LED light and then a light vibration to remind you to wash your hands.
Like a gimlet-eyed schoolmarm, the bracelet also monitors the quality of your hand-washing. Spend too little time rubbing your hands together, for instance, or use too little soap, and it’ll dispatch another friendly warning. This real-time feedback, according to Hyginex, helps staff improve their hand-washing compliance.
It isn’t surprising that administrators monitoring hand-washing compliance has been met with annoyance by doctors. A new study from Switzerland which sent surveys to 700 doctors and nurses at the University of Geneva Hospitals — receiving responses from 227 — seems to have finalized the opinion.
Just under one third stated they did not like the idea of being reminded to wash their hands by patients — considering it “upsetting” or “humiliating”. Additionally, 37 percent said they would refuse to wear a badge encouraging their patients to ask about hand hygiene.
However, most of those surveyed did say that they could play a role in preventing infections spreading through hospital grounds.
The study was published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine by researchers from the University of Geneva Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine.
Dr. Didier Pittet, the senior researcher of the study told Reuters:
“It’s clear that in some places around the world it would be easier to get patients to remind their health care workers, and health care workers to accept that they will be reminded by patients. There will be a day when it will be so automatic for health care workers to clean their hands. It will be a lot easier at that time for patients, in case health care workers forgot, to remind them.”
The low response rate is one limitation of the study, but it stands to reason that when someone spends a small fortune and studies for years to become a doctor, they may not be keen on reminders of something so basic.