The push to get health care workers to wash their hands has gone hi-tech. According to a recent article in the New York Times, hospitals are beginning to employ technological solutions to encourage providers to wash their hands. Hospitals are increasingly using bluetooth technology and even video cameras to incentivize their employees. Some are even tracking the results for individuals and providing bonuses.
Why? Simple… it all boils down to money. Medicare rules prevent hospitals from receiving payments for certain preventable hospital acquired infections. Even if hospitals do receive payment, the payments are often far less than the actual cost of treating those infections. Another reason is the steady rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria. With few antibiotics in the drug pipeline, hospitals are finally beginning to realize they may be running out of options.
The AHRQ recently listed its top 10 healthcare innovations that should be implemented immediately; first and foremost was routine hand hygiene. The real question is… why is it so difficult to get providers to wash their hands?