Improving hospital hand hygiene compliance with smart measurement system

Image source: Ecolab

News • Nosocomial infection prevention

Improving hospital hand hygiene compliance with smart measurement system

Water, hygiene and infection prevention solutions and services provider Ecolab launches its Hand Hygiene Compliance Measurement (HHCM) System, a digitally connected technology to systematically monitor and improve hand hygiene in healthcare settings, across Europe.

In healthcare settings, clean hands save lives. While the Covid-19 outbreak increased adoption of hand hygiene measures at first, studies show a 50 percent compliance rate for hand hygiene, on average, among healthcare staff.1 Low hand hygiene compliance in healthcare environments can result in the rise of Healthcare-associated Infections (HAI), costing lives and resources in already-strained healthcare services.

By combining the HHCM system with decades of experience in infection prevention, hospitals will be better equipped to tackle HAIs

Chafik Hilal

Each year, a total of 8.8 million HAIs are estimated to occur in European hospitals and long-term care facilities2, tragically resulting in an estimated 37,000 deaths.3 In the United Kingdom, HAIs cost the National Health Service (NHS) £2.7 million and 7.1 million occupied bed days annually.4 Furthermore, during the pandemic, healthcare workers have experienced high rates of hospital acquired Covid-19 infection, and in some cases transmitted it to patients.5 NHS data reveal that up to 20 percent of people in hospital with Covid-19 acquired the disease during their stay.6

Using the HHCM System, Ecolab has already helped improve hand hygiene compliance for thousands of healthcare workers in North America. Now, partnering with Danish MedTech company sani nudge, Ecolab will bring a similar solution to its European healthcare customers. “It is extremely resource-intensive and imprecise to monitor hand hygiene in a hospital through direct observations,” said Chafik Hilal, General Manager for Ecolab Healthcare Europe. “We are very eager to start rolling out this innovative solution at hospitals across Europe. By combining the HHCM system with decades of experience in infection prevention, hospitals will be better equipped to tackle HAIs.“

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The HHCM System combines IoT sensors and wireless hygiene measurement technology installed on patient beds and healthcare staff badges with connected dispensers to capture and anonymously record individual hand hygiene practices in patient rooms. The system saves many hours of in person monitoring and addresses the biases and inaccuracies associated, resulting in quality, reliable data. It provides actionable guidance helping improve safe patient interactions and compiles automated dashboards and visual reports complemented with Ecolab infection prevention expertise and chemistry. “The strategic partnership between sani nudge and Ecolab will greatly accelerate our vision to increase the safety of one billion patients worldwide by 2030.” said sani nudge CEO Theis Jensen. “We share the same values and ambitions as Ecolab and look forward to continue our joint work to help reduce HAIs by improving hand hygiene at European hospitals.”

In line with GDPR regulations, the data collected by the system deliver anonymized reports that the healthcare facility can leverage to develop tailored trainings and campaigns to address issues identified by the system. Ecolab will also provide further insights and infection prevention strategies to help improve the hand hygiene culture and compliance at the hospital. 

The solution developed by sani nudge, integrated into the Ecolab HHCM system, is already installed at various hospitals across Europe. In Denmark, it helped improve hand hygiene behaviour before and after patient contact by 178 percent and 120 percent respectively.7,8 In a short period of time, it also helped reduce staff sick leave by 72 percent. Ecolab has also rolled out the HHCM system at 5 hospitals in Florida which contributed to an improvement in hand hygiene compliance rate of 86 to 90 percent. High compliance levels were sustained and enabled the hospitals to reduce HAIs by 29 percent.9

The Ecolab Hand Hygiene Compliance Measurement System helps a hospital achieve and sustain results, deliver better patient outcomes, provide a safer working environment for staff. With data, insights, expertise and effective products, the hand hygiene culture improves for the long-term.


  1. Roshan R, Feroz AS, Rafique Z, Virani N. Rigorous Hand Hygiene Practices Among Health Care Workers Reduce Hospital-Associated Infections During the COVID-19 Pandemic. J Prim Care Community Health. 2020;11:2150132720943331. doi:10.1177/2150132720943331
  2. European Centre for Disease Control 
  3. WHO: Health care-associated infections  fact sheet 
  4. Guest JF, Keating T, Gould D, et al Modelling the annual NHS costs and outcomes attributable to healthcare-associated infections in England BMJ Open 2020;10:e033367. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-033367
  5. Sangeeta Mehta, Flavia Machado, Arthur Kwizera, Laurent Papazian, Marc Moss, Élie Azoulay, Margaret Herridge COVID-19: a heavy toll on health-care workers Published online February 5, 2021
  6. The Guardian, Up to 20% of hospital patients with Covid-19 caught it at hospital, May 17, 2020
  7. Iversen AM, Kavalaris CP, Hansen R, Hansen MB, Alexander R, Kostadinov K, Holt J, Kristensen B, Knudsen JD, Møller JK, Ellermann-Eriksen S. Clinical experiences with a new system for automated hand hygiene monitoring: A prospective observational study. Am J Infect Control. 2020 May;48(5):527-533. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2019.09.003. Epub 2019 Oct 18. PMID: 31635879.
  8. Iversen AM, Stangerup, M, From-Hansen M, Hansen, R, Palasin Sode L, Kostadinov, K, Hansen, MB, Calum, H, Ellermann-Eriksen, S, Knudsen, J. Light-guided nudging and data-driven performance feedback improve hand hygiene compliance among nurses and doctors.. Am J Infect Control. 2020 Nov 10;S0196-6553(20)30991-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2020.11.007. PMID: 33186676 
  9. Hand Hygiene Compliance Monitoring White Paper, "Demonstrating a Decrease in HAIs Across 5 Hospitals"

Source: Ecolab


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