How to Choose the Right Hand Hygiene Monitoring System for Your Hospital

John Lerner


By John Lerner

SMARTLINK™ Solutions Business Development Vice President

Driven by the shortcomings of direct observation and the need for accurate, reliable hand hygiene tracking, hospitals are increasingly turning to electronic monitoring systems. These systems help ensure that compliance figures are accurate, free of bias, and the sample size is large enough to make the conclusions statistically significant.

There are several things a hospital should consider before making an investment in an electronic monitoring system. These include:

What’s the Current State of Your Infrastructure?

If you have already deployed technologies such as a real-time location system (RLTS), the ability to easily integrate your hand hygiene monitoring with these components will be critical. Facilities that are smaller or have less developed infrastructure can focus on core monitoring and reporting functionality in the short term—then choose when to upgrade their technology.

Either way, examining your integration needs can help you understand your options and decide what type of hand hygiene tracking solution would be the most effective in your environment.

What’s the Best Fit for Your Hospital’s Culture?

Another critical factor is the prevailing culture in your workplace—and how the status quo is codified in any existing employment agreements or union negotiations. These conditions play a role in determining whether individual or group-based monitoring is best suited to your hospital’s culture.

There is wide variation between hospitals in terms of the expectations and enforcement mechanisms surrounding hand hygiene behavior. Some organizations uphold “zero tolerance” policies to drive improvement, while others use group-level accountability or other approaches based on their unique culture.

If your infection prevention team aims to do more bottom-up work—identifying problems through root-cause analysis and working through solutions together—you need a system that provides the required visibility and tools. No matter which approach your hospital uses, you need to think about what you’ll do with the data once you’ve started monitoring hand hygiene performance electronically—and how it will affect your culture.

How Will Hand Hygiene Monitoring Integrate With Existing Systems?

Whether you want a completely integrated solution or a stand-alone hand hygiene tracking system, it is important to plan how the new monitoring and measurement capabilities will fit into existing processes and operations. Your current infrastructure is an important consideration—but so is the ability to upgrade or adapt your system in response to changing circumstances.

With a solution that is modular in design, you can utilize its components in the way that is best-suited to your circumstances. This could mean starting off with monitoring at the group level and then upgrading to individual monitoring down the road.

What Kind of Support Will You Need?

Hand hygiene improvement is an uphill battle most of the time—that’s just the nature of trying to change human behavior. A large commitment is required to sustain performance improvement, and for many hospitals it is a real struggle to devote sufficient internal resources to the task. As a result, it is often beneficial for hospitals to find a compliance monitoring partner whose expertise extends beyond technology and into the clinical realm.

Ideally, you want peer-level support in all aspects of hand hygiene monitoring and improvement to help sustain behavioral change. When considering what type of support your organization will need, remember that improving hand hygiene is a long-term project.

What’s Unique About SMARTLINK™ Solutions?

SMARTLINK™ Solutions is an electronic hand hygiene monitoring system from GOJO that enables hospitals to establish transparency and accountability. With SMARTLINK™ Solutions, you can:

Measure Actual Hand Hygiene Opportunities and Events With 98% Accuracy

  • Capture a large, reliable data set with integrated dispensers and activity sensors
  • Collect and organize hand hygiene data automatically with back-end integration
  • Reduce the administrative burden on infection prevention teams

Easily Customize, Integrate, or Upgrade With Flexible Modules

  • Monitor hand hygiene compliance at the individual, unit, or group level
  • Integrate with RLTS or other existing systems
  • Improve direct observation with the SMARTLINK™ Observation System

Succeed With Clinical Expertise and Support

  • Utilize real-time dashboards and powerful reporting tools
  • Identify areas for improvement, develop and test hypotheses
  • Track the impact of targeted interventions over time

By combining trusted hand hygiene products and clinical expertise with cutting-edge electronic monitoring technology, SMARTLINK™ Solutions provides hospitals with everything they need to build accountability and improve hand hygiene performance.

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