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Badge sensor alerts health-care workers of need to wash hands

A wireless, credit-card-sized sensor that can detect whether health care workers have properly washed their hands upon entering a patient's room is being studied at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. The device could greatly reduce the number of hospital acquired infections nationwide since most are transmitted through contact due to poor hand-washing practice.

The VCU Medical Center was chosen as a study site because of its higher-than-average rate of hand hygiene compliance, nearly twice the national average. The sensor is worn like a name badge and is programmed to detect the presence of ethyl alcohol, the most common ingredient in hand cleansing solutions used in hospitals.

When a health care worker enters a patient's room, a small, wall-mounted sensor sends a signal to the badge to check for the presence of alcohol. The worker places their hands near the badge to obtain a reading. Lights on the badge glow red if no alcohol is present, indicating the need to wash hands. A green light indicates alcohol is present.

Via EurekAlert

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