Controlling the spread of disease and minimizing the number of healthcare-associated infections are primary concerns for any healthcare facility. There are elements in the environment of a healthcare facility that could actually facilitate the development and spread of infectious disease. Everything from the air in the building to the people who work there can be potential carriers of contamination.
Due to the invasive nature of many modern medical procedures, the opportunity for unrelated infections to develop in hospitals and other healthcare facilities is high. The number of surgeries performed in recent decades has increased, opening patients up to infections at incision sites. There are also a number of diagnostic instruments and other medical devices used in the treatment of disease. It is more critical than ever for hospitals to ensure that infectious diseases do not spread.
CenTrak Enterprise Location Services™ enable real-time tracking and security of medical equipment, staff and patients. The improved visibility provides a means for healthcare facilities to prevent the spread of infection, increase patient safety and receive immediate contamination alerts. Our best-in-class monitoring solution also provides a cost-effective means to automatically capture compliance and noncompliance events 24/7.
What is Infection control in Healthcare?
Infection control is a series of steps that healthcare facilities and hospitals take to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. It is estimated that approximately 1.7 million preventable illnesses are spread each year. To prevent further spreading of disease, steps that many facilities take include:
- Ensure hand hygiene compliance
- Track staff contact with assets and patients
- Ensure appropriate environmental conditions for medication, vaccines, and biological material
Benefits of CenTrak Enterprise Location Services™ for Infection Control
CenTrak’s technology captures 100% of compliance and non-compliance events without any gaps, providing the best-in-class tracking system for infection control through hand hygiene compliance monitoring.
Benefits of this highly-effective system include:
- Reports that include missed hand hygiene opportunities as well as successful visits to hand hygiene stations
- Battery powered Dispenser Monitors that are easy to install
- Monitors that mount to any canister, dispenser, sink, or pump
- Personal staff reminders that encourage compliance in real-time
- Potential integration with CenTrak full RTLS or operational as a stand-alone system
Posting signs in key locations is helpful, but a proactive reminder that points out when a healthcare worker is missing an opportunity to wash hands is even more effective. Providing reminders for healthcare workers to wash their hands at all of the appropriate points in their day can help increase compliance.
The healthcare facilities that depend on CenTrak’s system find a variety of benefits. Knowing where a particular patient is within the facility, whom he has come in contact with and which medical scopes and other equipment have been used on him, can help reduce the spread of infectious disease. Keeping track of all of a patient’s movements and contacts can create a database of very valuable information.
In the event of an infectious outbreak, it is important to be able to trace every person or entity that has potentially come in contact with the disease. Patient tracking systems collect data that can be used retroactively to track the spread of disease within the facility.
By recording every contact a patient has with staff, visitors and other patients, a list of people who have been exposed to an illness can quickly be generated. In addition, it’s important to keep track of where a patient has been, what areas of the hospital might have been contaminated, and what surfaces were in contact with the patient. This helps to effectively contain an outbreak without shutting down a hospital, as well as provide targeted communications to only those at risk, minimizing the possibility of unnecessary panic throughout the facility.
An electronic data collection system also allows for faster response times. When needed, the patient tracking information can be reported within seconds from anywhere in the facility. When it comes to limiting the spread of infectious disease, time matters. The faster the infection can be contained, the more control can be gained over the size of the potential outbreak. By quickly finding cases of infectious disease, and even locating potential carriers before they show symptoms, CenTrak’s RTLS can aid in infection control in hospitals.
Mobile medical equipment is tracked using asset tags with CenTrak’s RTLS. An accurate record of which instrument contacted which patient is helpful in tracking potential contamination in case an infection is discovered. Asset management also includes recording the steps of the disinfection process and storing data on which piece of equipment is clean and which is contaminated. This information, when stored electronically and made easy to retrieve, is essential to positive outcomes in a variety of procedures.
An asset management system that can proactively recognize a potential infection risk and send an alert can reduce infections by eliminating sources of human error. Healthcare workers are often busy and performing several tasks at once, and that means it’s all too easy to forget or not notice a particular infection risk. CenTrak Enterprise Location Services ™ make it harder to overlook potential hazards.
Tracking the cleaning lifecycles, usage and storage of medical scopes is critical to containing the potential risk of infection. CenTrak Enterprise Location Services™ make it possible to track medical equipment use with ease. This effective tracking mechanism helps health care facilities maintain the safety of their staff and patients while improving clinical workflow and guarding against equipment loss.
Key features of CenTrak’s tracking system include:
- To prevent stubborn bioburden, scopes need to enter the initial stage of the reprocessing cycle (rinse and manual brush) within one hour of use. Alerts to scopes being placed in a soiled area, so that the proper personnel can begin reprocessing immediately.
- Complete tracking information for the entire cycle of use of each scope visible across the whole medical facility without any gaps (GI, OR, ED, Imaging, Biomed, SPD, storage locations, warehouse, in-transit, etc.).
- Locate soiled medical scopes based on their degree of sterilization and location.
- Instant alert capability to staff if a stage in the sterilization process is missed
- Tags for asset tracking that are almost indestructible – capable of withstanding high-pressure washing and harsh disinfection chemicals – and can remain with the item through the sterilization process.
- Ability to synthesize tracking information from scopes, staff, and patients and update location and condition in seconds.
An effective medical scope management system, like CenTrak’s RTLS, collects data about the condition of each scope in the facility to avoid unnecessary reprocessing and medical scope damage as well as prevent the spread of bacterial infections due to Bioburden.
Download our Medical Scope Management Overview
Hospitals include several different environmental zones that need to be monitored and managed. Maintaining proper environmental conditions protects assets and reduces costly exposures. The CenTrak’s wireless platform has innovative features make it easy to control environmental conditions everywhere in the hospital. Even remotely, you’ll be able to:
- Be alerted to conditions that measure outside of set parameters —Timely alerts let staff address condition issues on critical assets quickly, maintaining the viability of temperature-sensitive materials. Temperature, pressure, and humidity can spoil assets if they are not monitored properly. That means expensive losses or worse, such as harming a patient, are at stake.
- Document compliance for any time period automatically — Access to compliance reports is easy with CenTrak’s wireless hospital environment monitoring system. Reports are automatic; they do not require staff to spend time recording data, eliminating the chance for human error, as well. This ensures the facility meets compliance standards including Joint Commission (JCAHO), State Board of Health, CDC and others.
Bacteria and viruses are living organisms, and they need specific conditions to grow. By monitoring environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity, hospitals can reduce the amount of time these organisms can live and, therefore, reduce the potential for infection.
The potential sources of infection, like blood, lab samples and vaccines, should all be protected vigilantly. All of these materials need to be stored, transported and disposed of in a safe manner that reduces the chance of contamination. Electronically monitoring the environment where these items are stored 24/7 can reduce the chance of infection.
Monitoring the air temperature and differential air pressure/flow throughout the facility is another way to limit the spread of airborne illnesses and infections. A monitoring system with alarms to notify of pressure changes can allow for a safer clinical environment.
Surgical Sterile Processing
There are a lot of potential infection risks in the operating room. All of the instruments on the surgical tray need to go through a thorough a rigorous sterilization process. An electronic monitoring system, like CenTrak’s RTLS, tracks the surgical tray through the sterilization process helping to eliminate a number of potential infection risks. Safety can be increased with an automated system to alert staff if a step of the sterilization process is missed.
The air in the room should also be monitored to ensure airborne illnesses are not being circulated. Maintaining proper air quality in the operating room can reduce the risk of infection for the patient. If the ventilation system fails, an immediate notification from the system helps to quickly mitigate the situation.
Healthcare Associated Infection
The infections patients can contract while they are receiving medical care are referred to as healthcare associated infections (HAI). The CDC developed guidelines to help healthcare facilities prevent these unnecessary infections. They have identified types of HAI that are common in hospitals and other healthcare facilities such as Clostridium difficile infections and surgical site infections.
According to the CDC, at least one out of every 25 hospital patients have an HAI on any random day. The CDC estimates that there are roughly 1.7 million HAI cases each year, affecting as many as 10% of patients in hospitals. What’s worse, these preventable infections result in approximately 99,000 deaths and $20 billion in healthcare costs each year.
The CDC guidelines for preventing HAIs are specific to each type of infection, but they all include proper instrument sterilization, hand hygiene compliance and cleanliness procedures for the insertion site. Any time the protective skin layer is breached, there is an increased risk of serious infection. The longer the insertion site is exposed, the more opportunity there is for infection to be carried to the site by instruments, hands or airborne pathogens.
A few of the general guidelines for preventing all types of HAI include:
- Comply with hand hygiene recommendations
- Maintain a sterile environment around open incisions
- Disinfect equipment thoroughly
- Educate patient, family and healthcare workers about infection control procedures
The CDC considers HAIs to be both unnecessary and preventable. They are not related to the condition for which the patient is being treated, but they can cause major complications and cost more money to treat than the initial disease. Furthermore, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are no longer reimbursing payments for infections acquired during the patient’s hospital stay. This results in significant financial losses for a healthcare facility. In addition, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the worst performing hospitals are penalized, reducing their payments by 1%.
Learn more about how CenTrak Enterprise Location Services™ make it possible for healthcare facilities to efficiently minimize the risk of infection spread and enhance patient care. Request a demo for your facility today!