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Atlantic Health System selects DebMed to enhance hand hygiene compliance

Atlantic Health System, one of the largest non-profit health care organizations in New Jersey, has selected the award-winning DebMed GMS (Group Monitoring System) to help prevent hospital acquired infections (HAIs) by increasing hand hygiene compliance. Atlantic Health System began implementing the new electronic hand hygiene monitoring technology in early June and throughout all five of the health system’s hospitals – Morristown, Overlook, Newton and Chilton Medical Centers, and Goryeb Children’s Hospital.

“Electronic compliance monitoring of hand hygiene is a true advantage for our patients, and is another example of how Atlantic Health System is taking the lead in infection prevention,” said Jan Schwarz- Miller, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Atlantic Health System. “We will be measuring staff hand hygiene compliance against a higher standard of care and will be well on our way to preventing healthcare-associated infections.”

The DebMed GMS is proven to increase hand hygiene compliance, with some hospital customers improving by as much as 40 percent. It is the only hand hygiene compliance monitoring system to provide feedback to hospitals on hand hygiene compliance rates based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Five Moments for Hand Hygiene method. The Five Moments are a higher clinical standard than the common practice of healthcare staff cleaning their hands only upon entering and exiting a patient room.

While the current manual method of measuring staff compliance with hand hygiene guidelines, known as direct observation, has been shown to report compliance rates that are overinflated by as much as 300 percent due to inherent flaws in the approach, the accuracy of the DebMed GMS reporting has been validated in published research. Over one week, the automated system captures more hand hygiene compliance data from one unit alone than is typically reported for an entire hospital over the course of a year, providing hospitals with significantly more comprehensive data.

The decision to install the DebMed GMS at Atlantic Health System was supported by clinical and executive staff, including the chief nursing officers, chief medical officers, and senior quality and safety staff. Using technologically-advanced tools and following the best practices for clinical hand hygiene to ensure patient safety supports the health system’s vision statement, “Empowering our communities to be the healthiest in the nation.” To that end, the ability of the DebMed GMS to empower all nursing and clinical staff to bring about a change in hand hygiene behavior was instrumental in the selection process. The technology emphasizes improvement of hand hygiene performance as a unit, promoting teamwork and compliance at the group level.

“Proper hand hygiene remains the simplest and most effective step to protect patients from healthcare-associated infections, and Atlantic Health has made a commitment to hand hygiene that will help it increase compliance, decrease infections, and reduce readmissions,” said Didier Bouton, President, DebMed. “Knowing that there is complete organizational focus on decreasing healthcare-associated infections and that, from the board to hospital leaders to nurses at the bedside, everyone is committed to leveraging data from the DebMed GMS system to improve hand hygiene compliance, it’s sure to be a success.”