Hand hygiene practices have received more attention as a result of COVID-19, and many technology companies (including Sanibit) are working to meet the challenge. For example, Apple is integrating a hand hygiene monitor into its next operating system for Apple Watch, watchOS 7, as part of a personal health and wellness suite of apps. Some hospitals and health care organizations may see this as an infection control tool for their staff, but Sanibit provides a practical solution for improving and maintaining hand hygiene compliance.
The Apple Watch hand hygiene app works straightforwardly. After the user configures the Apple Watch software, the app uses the Apple Watch microphone to detect the sound of running water. Motion sensors in Apple Watch detect movement and start a twenty-second timer, allows individuals to conform to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for consumer hand washing. Although users can track individual incidents of handwashing through the app, data collection is minimal and only works within the Apple software ecosystem. Given its consumer-centric focus, the Apple Watch app merely provides a simple handwashing protocol. Attempting to apply Apple Watch technology in a hospital setting would be unsuitable.
Sanibit, however, provides a hand hygiene compliance system for hospitals and other health care organizations, who are under more complex and stringent CDC hand washing guidelines and regulations, COVID-19 preparedness procedures, and infection control protocols. Sanibit’s patented sensor technology identifies hand hygiene opportunities (like entering or exiting a patient room), detects providers’ practices of hand hygiene in their existing workflows, and provides real-time interventions. Personalized web and mobile dashboards support game-based peer motivation for staff and deliver intelligence and insights 24/7 at the desired level of detail (examples include staff, room, or group). Sanibit is flexible with various healthcare settings, is compatible with all major-brand soap or alcohol dispensers, and has minimal impact on facilities and IT.
Unlike Apple Watch, Sanibit works on an organizational level, providing hospitals and health care providers valuable information on hand hygiene behaviors. Hospitals and other health care organizations can apply this information towards improving their compliance rates with federal and local regulations. Consistent hand hygiene practices in hospitals can lower the number of assorted healthcare-associated infections (HAI), which can lead to over $20 billion in health care costs and prevent over 400,000 deaths improving the overall quality of care.
Consistent hand hygiene behaviors require continuous practice and motivation, and technology can foster both. Whether it is Apple Watch on the consumer end or Sanibit for larger organizations, facilitating improved hand hygiene is a necessary aspect of ensuring the health and welfare of the greater community. Sanibit doesn’t just help promote proper hand hygiene or prevent infections – it saves lives.