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Podcast: Improving Hand Hygiene through RFID

February 14, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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Shannon Medical Center's Hand Hygiene RFID system

In this Healthcare Informatics podcast, Associate Editor Gabriel Perna interviews Gerald Creel, the director of emergency department at Shannon Medical Center, a 400-bed hospital in San Angelo, Texas. Shannon won third place in HCI’s recent IT Innovators Award program.

The program recognizes healthcare leadership teams who have effectively employed information technology to make a difference in their organizations and in the industry at large. At Shannon, Creel and his colleagues implemented an automated radio-frequency identification (RFID)-based system that dealt with the issue of hand-hygiene.

As a result of a pilot initiative in one of the hospital’s units, Shannon nearly tripled the amount of hand dispenses in that unit over the course of six months. The hospital also decreased hospital acquired infections by 62 percent. Creel discusses this innovative initiative, specifically discussing why the hospital decided to focus on hand hygiene – something that should be basic in every healthcare setting. He also talks about how the government played a role in this decision, and whether or not it will be expanded in the future.

Gerald Creel

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