Northeast Georgia Health System, DebMed Announce Partnership to Automate Hand Hygiene Monitoring

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DebMed®, creator of an electronic hand hygiene compliance monitoring system based on the World Health Organization (WHO)'s "Five Moments for Hand Hygiene," announces a partnership with Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) in Gainesville, Ga.  The 557-inpatient, 261-skilled nursing bed health system, which serves almost 700,000 people in more than 13 counties across northeast Georgia, will enhance patient safety and healthcare quality through the implementation and use of the DebMed GMS™ electronic hand hygiene monitoring system to further support its goal of eliminating hospital-acquired infections (HAIs).

The DebMed GMS helps to increase hand hygiene compliance, which can directly lead to a reduction in HAIs and associated healthcare costs, through its unique ability to provide real-time feedback on hand hygiene behavior.

"The ability of the DebMed GMS to provide automated, evidenced-based feedback in real time, based on the WHO's 'Five Moments,' was a natural fit with our goal of creating a culture of increased patient safety," says Sam Johnson, MD, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer of NGHS. "The implementation of the DebMed GMS is important to further support the hospital's mission to improve hospital performance and patient outcomes and to foster a safe hospital environment."

NGHS is a not-for-profit community health system dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of the people of northeast Georgia.  It offers a full range of healthcare services through its hospital in Gainesville, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, which was named one of the country's 100 Top Hospitals for 2009 by Thomson Reuters.  The DebMed program was reviewed in detail and approved by NGHS's Patient Safety Committee and Strategic Administrative Leadership Team.

The implementation of the DebMed GMS further supports NGHS's continued patient safety improvements, such as its goal to eliminate HAIs, by improving infection prevention practices based on the data from electronic monitoring of hand hygiene using the WHO's guidelines.  The WHO's "Five Moments for Hand Hygiene" is a higher clinical standard than the more commonly based practice of staff cleaning hands only before and after patient care. 

In addition to following the WHO guidelines, the DebMed GMS is automated, highly accurate and provides group monitoring, which encourages higher compliance by monitoring the group instead of individuals.  Group monitoring is recognized by infection preventionists as being more effective than other monitoring systems that track individuals' actions and can be seen by staff as punitive or an invasion of privacy.  The DebMed GMS also provides such supporting tools as staff meeting facilitation guides and visual reminders to help enable positive behavior change and ultimately create a safer environment for the patient.

"Early adopters of patient safety technology, such as the Northeast Georgia Health System, are leading the change and setting the standard for other healthcare institutions to provide the highest level of patient safety," says Paul Alper, vice president of strategy and business development for Deb Worldwide Healthcare, Inc.  "We are excited to provide evidence-based information and tools, which encourage increased hand hygiene compliance, patient safety and healthcare quality."

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