Hands are the most common vehicle for the transmission of viruses and bacteria that can cause illness and disease. This World Hand Hygiene Day, which is commemorated on 5 May, Netcare is once more calling on healthcare practitioners, staff members and the public to reflect on the importance of adopting proper hand cleanliness routines.
“Practising good hand hygiene is an important means of preventing the spread of infection in our homes and communities, as well as within healthcare facilities. For people working in healthcare, sound hand hygiene should be second nature and Netcare has therefore launched a number of programmes and initiatives to reinforce and monitor this vital aspect of infection prevention,” says Jacques du Plessis, managing director of Netcare’s hospital division.
Netcare has developed its own programme incorporating behavioural and science-based, measurement-driven actions to ensure that proper hand hygiene remains top-of-mind all year round. The Netcare ‘Safe Hands’ mobile application is one of the innovations that was introduced to assist with measurement of compliance with hand hygiene among healthcare providers in Netcare hospitals.
Pic: Netcare’s quality systems and innovation manager, Angeliki Messina.
According to Netcare’s quality systems and innovation manager, Angeliki Messina, the mobile application was developed in 2016 and has since been refined and implemented nationally in all Netcare hospitals.
“The app is aligned to the five moments of hand hygiene as highlighted by the World Health Organization’s campaign, and aims to automate the capturing of hand hygiene observations to enable real-time reporting of compliance rates at ward, hospital and group level,” she explains.
“International studies have shown that measurement of hand hygiene significantly improves compliance, provided that the information is regularly shared with frontline teams. Data drawn from the mobile app is presented via the Safe Hands dashboard, providing hospital teams with a tool that delivers up-to-date data to drive continuous improvement and timeously identify any potential gaps so that they can be addressed immediately.
“Since the launch of the Netcare Safe Hands app, over half a million hand hygiene observations have been recorded and every day hospital teams are working to further enhance hand hygiene compliance.”
Messina explains that in 2016 Netcare hospitals embarked on a new approach to formalising hand hygiene participation and evaluation. “We developed a two-pronged strategy that includes behavioural and scientific components, underpinned by quality improvement methodologies to continually reinforce the importance of adhering to the principles of good hand hygiene,” she says.
Hand hygiene was introduced into the Netcare Way, a set of behaviours that all staff members are expected to comply with in their daily duties. “This has helped to establish a culture of hand hygiene within our hospitals and inspire staff to become hand hygiene role models.
“We also ran a campaign where we requested staff members to tell us why hand hygiene is important to them. We believe that encouraging people to reflect on the reasons behind hand cleanliness initiatives helps to develop a sense of shared responsibility for infection prevention and instil a deeper commitment to the objectives of the programme.
“This motivational component aims to take the message of hygiene well beyond our healthcare facilities, while at the same time entrenching appropriate hand hygiene as part of our day-to-day routines,” Messina adds.
“We at Netcare are always looking to build on our existing infection prevention and control measures, and this mobile app is an innovative and effective tool which complements our on-going hand hygiene programmes, helping us to keep our hospitals safer for our patients, visitors, staff and doctors,” Du Plessis adds.
“World Hand Hygiene Day presents the ideal opportunity for all individuals to renew their commitment to making hand hygiene a habit and raising awareness about the significance of hand hygiene, as prevention of illness is always better than cure,” he concludes.
Issued by: MNA on behalf of Netcare
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Estene Lotriet-Vorster
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