Hygiene's technological revolution

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Tom Bergin Marketing Director for SCA’s Away from Home Professional Hygiene
Tom Bergin Marketing Director for SCA’s Away from Home Professional Hygiene

Technological advancements have made our daily lives more efficient and thorough. Lately, we've noticed technology's growing impact on hygiene. In fact, a new survey revealed that technology like modernized healthcare equipment can have a significant impact on making our lives healthier. In hospitals, we know that hygiene is paramount in mitigating infection spread. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) affect millions of patients worldwide each year, making them the most frequent adverse event in healthcare delivery around the globe. Because of this, it's a truly critical time to continue improving hygiene management within healthcare facilities.

To address this, various healthcare institutions are implementing Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to help better manage upkeep. Interconnected technology, technology that collects data and works together to improve efficiencies, offers environmental services managers a more effective way to gather information and oversee facilities.

Recently, UC Irvine Health, Stanford Medical Center and Augusta Medical Center have embraced a smart technology offering from SCA's Tork brand to improve challenges that center administrators face. Placed in facility restrooms (e.g., those located in waiting areas, etc.), Tork EasyCube™ Intelligent Restroom System uses sensor-equipped dispensers that process data regarding supply levels to keep staff informed on refill needs for items like  paper towels, hand soap and hand sanitizer. The system also monitors traffic to each location so environmental services staff can plan cleaning routes more efficiently.  

Because these rooms now require fewer checks from environmental services teams, staff members are freed up to focus their efforts on areas in greater need of upkeep, such as patient rooms. Ultimately, these kinds of technologies help healthcare facilities make smarter, better-informed decisions based on this kind of data so that administrators and staff can spend more time doing what they do best – helping patients. The intelligent system also helps staff uncover trends within the facility, like which restrooms have the most traffic, helping them improve hygiene maintenance throughout the healthcare center.

Beyond saving time and increasing efficiency, making sure patients and residents are equipped to practice safe hand-hygiene is of utmost importance in reducing HCAIs. According to the World Health Organization, proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways of stopping the spread of unwanted infections. Because supply levels are monitored continuously, new technology ensures that the products necessary for safe hygiene practices are readily available when needed.

To instill confidence in patients, visitors and staff that they are receiving and providing high-quality care, it's essential that healthcare facilities take all measures necessary to maintain the highest standard in hygiene and cleanliness. Hospitals should serve as trusted places for patients to preserve their health, yet they are considered one of the riskiest environments for infection. Leveraging new technological innovations can help change public perception of hospital cleanliness and potentially reduce the number of HCAIs within these environments.

Tom Bergin is marketing director, Healthcare & Industrial, and Jimy Baynum is the market development director, SCA AfH Professional Hygiene.

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