News Feature | June 12, 2014

Big Data, RTLS Reduce Hospital Acquired Infections

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Big Data And RTLS In healthcare

Real time tracking is reducing hospital acquired infections in the UK, adding more proof to the idea that big data can improve hospital cleanliness.

Health IT Outcomes reported earlier this year that big data was leading to hospital cleanup in Ohio thanks to real time hand washing data collection. In a pilot study, the technology increased hand washing from 70 percent to 90 percent - impressive since the national average is just 50 percent.

Now, a hospital across the pond is experiencing the same great results with its RTLS (real time locating system) technology. New Cross Hospital in the UK has recently announced its one millionth hand hygiene observation with TeleTracking Technologies Inc., part of the “Safe Hands” program. The one million mark is especially impressive since there have been only 600 visual observations in the same time period.

“The technology is used not only to monitor when and where patients and staff wash their hands, but to track equipment in need of cleaning and determine which staff members are in contact with which patients,” reports mHealth News. “In one case, hospital officials found that an infected patient had come into contact 217 times with staff members, other patients and mobile medical assets before the infection was diagnosed.”

TeleTracking explains in a press release, “Every time equipment is moved, a patient leaves a ward, or a staff member washes their hands - the TeleTracking system knows.  Alerts go off if a patient hasn’t been seen for more than an hour, or if a patient is in an isolated area longer than 20 minutes.  Location and time data is sent back to computer touchscreens in each department.”

Cheryl Etches, chief nurse at New Cross Hospital, says, “I now have access to so much information about patient safety and experience issues.  The potential this system offers is phenomenal and can fundamentally underpin the operating framework of our organization.”