The Innovative Hand-Hygiene System At White Plains Hospital

White Plains Hospital is the first hospital in the New York metropolitan area to use BIOVIGIL, an innovative hand-hygiene system. The system helps prevent Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) by ensuring that all employees have the cleanest hands possible when coming into contact with patients.

The easy-to-use system functions through a room sensor, a plug-in base station, and a small badge. By wearing BIOVIGIL badges, hospital employees can monitor hand cleanliness and hygiene at a 99.9-percent accuracy rate on a hospital-wide basis. The badge alerts the hygiene status of its user through a color-coded system similar to a traffic light: green means “compliant,” yellow means “hygiene reminder,” and red means “non-compliant.” It also senses when employees have washed their hands with soap and water or used alcohol-based sanitizer, the most effective way to avert transmission of infections.  

Rafael Torres, MD, wearing his BIOVIGIL badge 

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White Plains Hospital began using the BIOVIGIL system a year ago with a pilot program, starting with two units, and gradually added more; the final unit was installed in the ER last month. During the pilot period alone, the hospital collected more than 4 million hand-hygiene observations and increased from 84 users to nearly 1300.  

“Our goal is 100-percent hand-hygiene compliance, consistent with White Plains Hospital policies,” says Saungi McCalla, director of Infection Control at White Plains Hospital. “All hospital staff are required to ‘wash in, wash out’ upon entering and exiting patient rooms. This policy, according to McCalla, is not just for doctors, nurses, and nurse techs, but also food-service workers, environmental service workers, and other staff.

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