An HAI is a nasty bit of business: That stands for Hospital Acquired Infection, and what's worse than going into a place of healing and picking up a new sickness?
Research from the Center for Disease Control shows that "hand washing is the single most important procedure for preventing infections, yet reports continue to indicate that healthcare worker adherence to hand washing guidelines are low." A design solution has come from a partnership between medical products company Xhale and design firm Robrady, who jointly developed the HyGreen Intelligent Hand Hygiene System, a simple system of three devices that ensures the doc remembers to wash his mitts.
First, the doc/nurse/orderly wears a HyGreen Badge device, which they can use to hang their regular ID badge off of. When they wash their hands at the HyGreen Handwash Station, sensors between the two devices communicate and the badge gets a green light confirming cleanliness; and it doesn't work just by proximity, the Handwash Station confirms that soap or cleaning gel has actually been dispensed.
Next, when the worker approaches a patient bed, the HyGreen Bed Monitor communicates with the badge to confirm the worker's hand hygiene status. If the hands are dirty, a vibrating reminder goes off.
The HyGreen system, which was just nominated for a 2010 Medical Design Excellence Award, is wireless and designed to install easily. Xhale estimates the device will not only save lives, but pay for itself by helping hospitals avoid the extra costs associated with HAIs.