Wheat Ridge hospital rolls out high-tech hand washing sensor technology to staff members

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. .,- Healthcare related spread of infection is a big concern to hospitals and clinics all over the world.

Now, Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge has implemented new technology aimed at curbing the spread of such infections.

Biovigil is a sensor that each caregiver wears that will detect whether or not the caregiver has used hand sanitizer or washed their hands every time they have entered or left a patient's room.

After walking in or out of a room, the caregiver uses hand sanitizer and then holds their hand over the sensor, which detects the alcohol in the sanitizer and beeps with a green light.

If the caregiver doesn’t hold their hand over the sensor and goes through a doorway, the light will turn yellow, then red with an alerting beep and vibration reminding the caregiver to wash their hands.

Infection prevention specialist Jessica Strouch said it’s important technology that will make hospitals healthier inside.

“We love that not only does it monitor all the observations like all the other systems do, but it actually gives us that real-time feedback and reminder for our staff," said Strouch.  “Hand washing is the number one way to prevent the spread of infections, so we thought by having this added technology, it would just help enhance that."

In 2014, the Center for Disease Control reported almost 18,000 central line-associated bloodstream infections resulting in thousands of deaths each year.

If a patient tests positive for one of these, the hospital is responsible for the cost of the patient’s treatment, which the C.D.C. said costs about $50,000 per case.

However, hospital leaders understand there will be times when the Biovigil takes a backseat to patient care.

“Patient emergencies, of course, the patient is going to come first, so if their hands aren't clean, we understand that," said Strauch.

Of the other major metro hospitals, Denver Health is the only one Denver7 found to be using hand washing tracking technology. 

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