Badges detect whether hospital workers have sanitized their hands

"Smart" employee badges are getting smarter.

WNDU-TV in South Bend, Ind., highlights technology at an unspecified hospital that can detect whether caregivers have sanitized their hands by sensing the presence of alcohol, a key ingredient in hand sanitizers. "A light on the badge will turn green, signifying that the healthcare worker has washed his or her hands," explains Dr. Michael Edmond, chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. If no alcohol is detected, the light will glow red, warning patient and employee alike of the risk of infection.

Hospitals, of course, also are turning to robotics and bar coding to improve medication safety. A system called PillPick dispenses individual dosages into bar-coded plastic bags, then the administering nurse verifies the patient's identity and checks the dosage against the doctor's order with a handheld scanner. "The pill picker prevents the wrong medication from being given to the patient at the bedside," says pharmacist John Ilic of Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.

The WNDU story, while consumer-focused, includes a research report supplied by Loyola University.

For more:
- see this WNDU report