Adoption of electronic hand hygiene monitoring systems in New York state hospitals and the associated impact on hospital-acquired C. difficile infection rates

Published:April 17, 2020DOI:


      • Adoption of hand hygiene monitoring technology is low in NYS hospitals.
      • The primary reason hospitals do not pursue hand hygiene technology is cost.
      • The impact of hand hygiene technology on infection rates is mixed.
      • Technology aside, robust hand hygiene culture is essential for high compliance.


      Approximately 721,800 hospital acquired infections occur annually, generating an estimated $10 billion in provider costs. Proper hand hygiene (HH) prevents hospital acquired infections, yet compliance is low. Electronic hand hygiene monitoring systems (EHHMS) are a potential solution, tracking and signaling HH events.


      We explored adoption of EHHMS in New York State acute care hospitals through a survey and interviews. Trend analysis was used to evaluate the impact of EHHMS on hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile infection (HA-CDI) rates.


      Survey respondents represented approximately 30% (N = 56) of the total population of hospitals (N = 184) and EHHMS adoption was low (N = 2). The primary reason for nonadoption was cost (79.6%). HH compliance increased 20%-30% and HA-CDI decreased 70% for one hospital after an EHHMS, though not sustained; robust HH culture was mentioned as a necessary accompaniment. The trend analysis showed negligible impact on HA-CDI post-EHHMS for the second hospital. A critical access hospital without an EHHMS reported HH compliance of 90% attributed to strong HH culture.


      Proliferation of EHHMS is low in New York State acute care hospitals and its impact on HH compliance and infection rates is questionable. Putting technology aside, strong HH culture seems essential for high compliance.

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