Ekahau Develops Solution for Monitoring Hand Hygiene


Ekahau Inc., a leader in high performance Wi-Fi-based Real Time Location Systems (RTLS), announces that it is introducing a Wi-Fi hand hygiene monitoring solution that automatically monitors hand hygiene of employees in the healthcare facilities to prevent the spread of hospital acquired infections and other transmittable diseases.

Ekahau RTLS offers the unique ability to track the location and staff interactions with patients and to measure hand hygiene activity down to the individual caregiver. Because the Ekahau RTLS runs over a hospital's existing Wi-Fi network, the hand hygiene solution is cost effective and easy to deploy. Utilizing the GOJO SmartLink Series Dispensers with the Ekahau RTLS, customers will have access to a complete skin care portfolio -- including PURELL hand sanitizer, PROVON hand soaps and PURELL Surgical Scrub - enabling them to monitor hand hygiene across the entire facility. Once in place, the same Ekahau RTLS system can be used for a variety of other applications, such as staff communications, safety, workflow, patient tracking, asset tracking and environmental monitoring.

The hand hygiene solution combines Ekahau location-enabled staff badges and Ekahau beacons that are embedded into GOJO's SmartLink Series Dispensers located throughout a hospital. The staff badges -- which also are commonly used for staff messaging, workflow and safety applications -- enable the RTLS system to automatically monitor staff-patient interactions, as well as when the staff member washes his or her hands before and after interacting with a patient in order to calculate compliance based on hospital policy. By leveraging the two-way communications capabilities of the Ekahau RTLS system, staff members can receive reminders and status information on the text display of their badges to help improve hand hygiene compliance. To ensure full compliance, the Ekahau transmitters that are integrated into the dispensers will only be activated when hands are sanitized, eliminating any false information from being collected.

"Hand hygiene is a significant concern, particularly in the healthcare market where, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital acquired infections add more than $30 billion to annual healthcare costs and result in almost 100,000 deaths," says Tuomo Rutanen, senior vice president of worldwide marketing and business development at Ekahau. "We believe that Ekahau's real-time location tracking technology -- which is already in use at more than 300 hospitals worldwide and works over the customer's existing Wi-Fi networks -- has been integrated with GOJO hand sanitizing units to provide hospitals a way to ensure staff is compliant with hand washing procedures."

"Today, most healthcare institutions still go through a manual observation method to collect and report hand hygiene compliance rates. This manual observation method typically requires significant cost and effort, but rarely yields timely and accurate information on hand hygiene compliance," says Dave Mackay, healthcare vice president at GOJO Industries. "When you consider the potential for Ekahau's real-time location tracking technology, enabled by GOJO's touch-free dispensing systems, to deliver real-time hand hygiene monitoring at an individual care level, it's exciting to think about the difference this could make for infection control."

The solution relies on Ekahau's experience in deploying healthcare technology enterprisewide and its accurate location tracking capabilities, as well as GOJO's extensive expertise in infection control in the healthcare environment. The solution is currently undergoing field testing and will be available in the second quarter of 2011.

More information about how this solution works is online at http://www.ekahau.com/solutions/healthcare/infection-control/. Ekahau will be demonstrating a prototype of this solution at Booth 3701 during HIMSS11 Annual Conference & Exhibition, Feb. 20-24, 2011, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

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