The concept of disease being transmitted on the hands of healthcare providers is over 150 years old. Rather than transmitting “puerperal fever,” we are now more concerned about multi-drug resistant pathogens like ESBL’s, MRSA, VRE, and so on. In addition to be an intuitive conclusion, there is substantial data that hand hygiene reduces the transmission of dangerous pathogens. As such, hand hygiene has become a national priority in healthcare.

As such, the success of nGage, a platform for compliance monitoring and behavior modification, by Proventix Systems should not be surprising. Proventix recently announced that their system has become the most used hand hygiene monitoring system in the United States, with over 4 million recorded usages to date. This wireless system, which couples a small display monitor with a scrub dispenser and uses RFID’s carried by healthcare providers, to monitor hand hygiene compliance in addition to delivering educational content to promote a behavioral shift as well.

The system works by recognizing when a healthcare worker enters a room and, upon the completion of a quality hand hygiene event, they are given a “reward”.

“…they are given important, patient-specific information such as patient risk for a fall, general employee information, or even employee-specific information such as stock market reports or sports scores. The messaging rewards and incentivizes healthcare workers at the point of care, improves workflow and creates opportunities for efficiencies while enhancing patient safety and care quality.”

David Sellers, R.N., Proventix Vice President of Quality Services explains the value proposition,

“We achieve rapid infection prevention buy-in with the hand hygiene component, but when we demonstrate the system’s flexibility to meet a variety of quality monitoring capabilities, nursing and quality managers quickly recognize the value as well. Information Technology gets excited because the system’s open architecture philosophy meets so many of their challenges. Evidence of quality will be key for hospitals to be fully compensated for care performed. Providing this evidence manually is a time-consuming, burdensome task that is automated using Proventix’s RFID monitoring devices. nGage streamlines clinician workflow so caregivers can focus on the business of improving patient care and outcomes.”

The nGage system uses Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology. This technology uses radio waves to transfer data, typically the identity (in the form of a unique serial number) of an object or person wirelessly.

RFID is  more ubiquitous then you may think. If you have ever embedded a microchip on your pet with an ID tag, used EZPass or some other toll tag through a toll booth, or paid for gas using SpeedPass, you’ve used RFID. It is increasingly being used with biometric technologies for increased security. Additionally, because RFID uses radio waves to transmit a signal, it does not require a direct line of sight  for communication.

A video demonstrating the technology can be seen below.

According to Proventix, there has been an average reduction of healthcare associated infection (HAI) of over 24% across all nGage monitored units,

“The University of Chicago Medical Center and the University of Maryland Medical Center studied the impact of the nGage system on their deliveries of health care. Both institutions have been sharing results and spoke both at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the Georgia Infection Prevention Network’s 30th Annual Education Conference. The study found that the nGage system was 100% accurate in detecting entries into and exits out of room and was 97% accurate when detecting dispenses.”

By coupling increased monitoring at the point of action with a rather inventive series of incentives, Proventix is promoting a new approach to instituting behavioral change in healthcare. And while there are certainly costs associated with implementation, as payors like Medicare increasingly refuse to pay for hospitalization associated with HAI’s, rigorous systems like these may ultimately prove to be a win both in terms of patient care and cost-saving.

Source: Press Release