Improving Healthcare With Near Field Magnetic Induction

By Seth Freedman, CEO, Intelligent Observation.

Seth Freedman

Motivating healthcare workers to follow proper hand hygiene compliance guidelines is the number one way to reduce the spread of infections in hospitals, according to both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).

In healthcare environments, effectively monitoring hand hygiene compliance has to move past visual observation, which only captures less than 2% of the hand hygiene compliance events in a 24/7/365 hospital. In order to capture most hand hygiene events, a device needs to be worn on the human body.

Challenges with Radio-Frequency Identification

For over a decade, the hand hygiene monitoring solutions on the market have relied on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Not only does this technology require intricate infrastructure installation, but based on simple physics, it is also ineffective at monitoring the WHO Five Moments of Hand Hygiene to tracking infection spread in a healthcare setting.

Devices with RFID present one main challenge if expected to be worn on the body. RFID does not accurately transmit through water, and given that human bodies are made up of up to 60% water, the technology becomes highly inaccurate when it is worn on the person.

Near Field Magnetic Induction Offers Solutions

Near Field Magnetic Induction (NFMI) technology offers a new solution to hand hygiene monitoring. NFMI technology provides proximity detection on the centimeter level, making it highly accurate as a device worn on the person. The centimeter-level detection is also configurable which allows it to mimic current hand hygiene compliance standards in a healthcare facility.

NFMI technology is fairly common; it is the technology the automotive industry utilizes for cars that have push-button ignitions and key fobs. Due to the common use of NFMI technology, it is easily scalable for even the world’s largest healthcare organizations. It is also more affordable than RFID because it does not involve an integrated installation system.

Implementing NFMI in the Healthcare Environment

Intelligent Observation, a healthcare company utilizing NFMI provides an innovative and automated hand hygiene compliance monitoring system designed to reduce healthcare-acquired infections. The company has developed proprietary algorithms and firmware to enhance the effectiveness of NFMI technology in the use case of hand hygiene compliance monitoring and infection tracking. The Intelligent Observation solution can monitor all hand hygiene events within a healthcare setting and runs primarily on battery-operated sensors that allow for a low complex, simple installation process.

In addition to being an affordable, scalable and effective form of monitoring hand hygiene within a healthcare environment, NFMI technology also provides actionable feedback to improve compliance standards and infection tracking.

Actionable Data Insights

Data collected by the technology is available for hospitals to view hand hygiene compliance data at the unit, room, role and individual healthcare worker level. This helps protect the patients, staff and visitors that may come in contact with any healthcare-related infections. By providing data around the spread of infections, hospitals can quickly act on any potential interaction. The Intelligent Observation NFMI technology provides the ability to see all healthcare workers that entered and exited a room, from a specified range, as well as tracks any subsequent rooms where spread could have occurred. Tracking of healthcare worker activity also increases hand hygiene compliance.

If hospitals and supervisors are finding consistent occasions when hand hygiene compliance is not being met, they can effectively educate the staff on the necessary improvements that need to be made. Stand-alone, self-contained networks and infrastructures collecting NFMI data eliminate any potential security breach to hospital’s data and require no support from an IT department.

As more hospitals continue to emphasize the importance of proper hand hygiene and implement effective solutions to monitor compliance, healthcare-acquired infections can decrease as infection tracking and targeted education will be easily accessible.

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