Local hospital first to use new hand-washing technology

Local hospital first to use hand-washing technology

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - One out of every 20 hospitalized patients catch an infection from the hospital itself, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

But one local hospital is striving to reduce that figure through a high-tech project.  Summerville Medical Center was selected as a pilot site by GE Healthcare to introduce a proactive approach to hand-washing.

Using radio frequency identification technology, employees are recorded using hand sanitizer gel dispensers located outside of all patient rooms.  A sensor located on the dispenser is registered with a chip located on the employee's identification card.

A compliance percentage is then determined through the use of sensors located on the wall of a patient's room.

"If you're about to walk into a patient room, we will give you 30 seconds to wash your hands or sanitize your hands to be compliant," GE Healthcare Global Asset General Manager Fran Dirksmeier said.

Compliance percentages can then be analyzed by the hospital's infection prevention provider.

The hospital has been testing the system with 300 employees since last May.  GE Healthcare said it is now ready to offer the program to other hospitals across the country.

"It really was an honor and it was a unique experience," Summerville Medical Center CEO Louis Caputo said.  "I've never been a part of something that was really a development project from scratch."

Dirksmeier said the program will be expanded to several more hospitals across the country.

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