How to use digital assistance to save lives.
Mission: Infection Prevention - There’s an App for That
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) in hospitals and care institutions are an important tool to assure reproduceable quality and to improve processes. But that's not all – they can also help improve patient safety, especially if they are applied to tasks that are frequently associated with nosocomial infections. The mobile app My Hygiene SOP helps healthcare providers achieve a higher degree of compliance with hygiene standards by defining, adapting and analysing their SOPs.
Nosocomial infections are often acquired during common care procedures. For that, the implementation and ongoing improvement of SOPs is key to achieve better compliance by using / working with standards.
That's the basic idea behind My Hygiene SOP. It is intended to serve as a digital aid for medical professionals and caregivers. It breaks down complex procedures into an illustrated step-by-step guide that is easy to understand. For example, there are SOPs for changing wound dressings or insertion of peripheral venous or urinary catheters into their individual components.
Focus on Hygiene
The app currently comes with four pre-defined SOPs. All of them have been devised following evidence-based recommendations by internationally recognised organisations including the WHO, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) from Germany or the CDC (USA). "For each process, the app clearly highlights all steps relevant to hygiene," Haldenwang adds.
Special emphasis is placed on hand disinfection, which is one of the crucial elements in the prevention of nosocomial infections. Additionally, all other hygiene relevant tasks are considered such as skin antisepsis, wearing of sterile gloves and aseptic tasks.
Apart from established practices and routines, adaptations can be made to the pre-defined SOPs with regard to the institution’s preferences for specific medicalequipment or materials as well as the architectural features of the facility. And, new SOPs can be created from scratch.
Versatile Feedback, Valuable Data Analysis
My Hygiene SOP is not only about procedures, but also about feedback or training purposes.
Line managers can observe their staff performing their daily tasks and retrace their progress onscreen. Individual steps can be checked off one after another, allowing the infection prevention nurse or the hygiene specialist to analyse how closely caregivers follow a given SOP and, consequently, to provide direct feedback in real time.
The app is also suitable as a complementary instruction tool, either to assist in the training of new staff or to establish new SOPs.
Any data entered into My Hygiene SOP during observation and training is recorded and analysed. The accumulated data allows medical and care institutions to track how well their SOPs work and, most importantly, how infection prevention compliance develops over time and in case of low compliance rates to identify the reasons why so that interventions can be derived.
Better Care, Safer Patients
"All of these functions give hospitals an additional tool to analyse their processes and to improve them by way of an iterative learning process," says project manager Haldenwang.
As the app guides medical and care professionals through efficient processes and documents their compliance it raises their awareness of the associated infection risks and it helps them build up confidence. This in turn allows them to go through their routines with more ease, freeing up valuable time elsewhere.