By: Ankur Gupta, MS1

According to a study presented at the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America’s annual meeting, the iScrub app for iPhone and iPod Touch is effective in increasing hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers. The iScrub app improves over conventional systems to monitor hand hygiene by eliminating the need for extra staffing and transcription of observation data.

More importantly it provides instant feedback to users, as opposed to to older systems that had lag times of a couple weeks, or even a full month. When implemented at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics over 34 weeks, the iScrub app was shown to statistically increase compliance.

Hand hygiene is a topic at the forefront of patient safety – iPhone apps such as iScrub, if implemented effectively, have the potential to improve patient outcomes in a simple yet elegant manner.

Hospital acquired infection is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in our health system. The CDC estimates that there are approximately 1.7 million hospital associated infections that cause up to 99,00 deaths per year. These infections not only cause a significant amount of morbidity and mortality, but they also greatly increase health care costs.

As hand hygiene compliance is one of the most effective ways to combat the spread of infection within a hospital, an app such as iScrub could provide an efficient way to effectively “crowdsource” compliance measures to all health workers. The results of the study conducted at the University of Iowa show its potential, and we would love to see further studies on similar programs.

Check out the full article here.
Abstract of the actual iScrub study

iTunes link to iScrub