NXP Enables Intelligent Hand Hygiene System to Prevent Hospital Infections

The HyGreen Hand Hygiene and Recording System, designed by HyGreen, Inc., is an innovative solution that actively reminds busy healthcare workers to wash their hands, and records all handwashing events and patient-staff interactions in the hospital environment. The HyGreen system uses low-power wireless chip technology from NXP Semiconductors N.V. to capture and transmit data on handwashing by healthcare workers, helping to improve hospital hygiene significantly.

HyGreen is using the NXP JN5139 wireless microcontroller and the JenNet wireless network protocol stack optimized for low-power, low-data rate, cost-sensitive applications, and plans to start using the JN5148 microcontroller later this year. Based on the IEEE 802.15.4 specification, JenNet enables a robust, self-healing network that helps HyGreen track all hand-washing events, as well as which patient bed each healthcare worker has visited, allowing hospitals to effectively monitor adherence to hand hygiene protocols.

The HyGreen Hand Hygiene and Recording System is now used in leading U.S. hospitals such as St. Jude's Children's Hospital, University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, and the Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center. After cleaning his or her hands with soap or gel, a healthcare worker places them under a HyGreen sensor which sends a wireless "all clean" message to his or her HyGreen badge, which then blinks green. When the healthcare worker approaches a patient bed, the HyGreen monitor above the bed checks if the badge is transmitting an "all clean" signal. If the badge is not green, the badge vibrates, reminding the healthcare worker to wash. Reports on hand-washing compliance are available to hospital management in real time.

"Leading hospitals are counting on us to deliver a hand hygiene system that improves personnel hygiene and ultimately helps to improve their bottom line by reducing healthcare-associated infections," says Ron Youngblood, vice president of operations for HyGreen, Inc. "NXP has helped us design and deliver a highly reliable solution that is cost-effective and very easy for hospitals to maintain. After months of use, the HyGreen Hand Hygiene and Recording System continues to offer excellent battery life, thanks to the ultra-low power consumption of NXP's wireless module, which uses only one-tenth the power required by WiFi."

In a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), Miami Children's Hospital reported that healthcare-associated infections were reduced by 89 percent during a seven-month period when the HyGreen Hand Hygiene Reminder System was used. The study also showed that the HyGreen components and tracking system performed with 100-percent accuracy, providing monitoring at the same intensity for all shifts in a busy pediatric oncology unit. In addition, HyGreen has received numerous accolades including the 2010 Medical Design Excellence Award and Popular Science's "Best of What's New" for 2009.

"The HyGreen Hand Hygiene Reminder System is a revolutionary solution that demonstrates how 'smart' wireless technologies can help to tackle a major challenge in the healthcare industry -- improving patient care, saving lives and saving costs," says Jim Lindop, chief strategist for the Low Power RF product line at NXP Semiconductors. "We look forward to working with HyGreen as the company continues to transform hygiene practices, not only in hospitals and clinics, but also in other environments such as schools and restaurants."

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