Published today, outcomes of a Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) pilot study of an Irish cloud-based hygiene and facilities software solution Hygiene Audits, which helps clinical sites to track and trace infection risks and measure compliance with HIQA National Standards and World Health Guidelines, revealed multiple benefits to digitising documentation in an Irish hospital setting:
- Cost savings of €64,735 annually moving from a paper-based system to an automated digital system, per hospital.
- Clinical benefits were demonstrated through the improvement in hygiene audit scores over the pilot period. The improvement in the hygiene audit scores were validated by adenosine triphosphate bioluminescence (ATP) scores.
- Efficiencies and timesaving Using the software system, up to 11 hours saved every day through the automation or digitisation of tasks usually completed using manual or paper based processes.
- Operational benefits Auditing processes were 66 per cent faster and the use of photographic evidence enhanced the quality. Management oversight was improved with the functionality for real time review of the hygiene status of locations hospital wide. The instant cleaning and maintenance alerts for all relevant staff significantly improved communication. Digital auditing facilitated real time instant reports and a complete audit trail for compliance.
Glenda Hahn, CEO Hygiene Audits, said:
“The software validation we received from the HIHI pilot will help to support key decision makers to see not only the clinical benefits but the significant cost savings that can be achieved by using this technology. HIHI kept us all on track with clear goals for the duration of the project. The clinical and economic benefits were tracked and documented with direction and support from the HIHI.”
Hygiene documentation and environmental hygiene auditing are commonly paper based in Ireland. Paper trails provide a point in time solution with limited oversight and are error prone. In 2019, Glenda Hahn and Yvonne O’Loughlin, two nurses with expertise in infection prevention identified that healthcare managers were burdened with time-consuming paper-based systems for hygiene workflows and spotted the need for automation. In response, they developed technology solution Hygiene Audit.
Using RFID (radio-frequency identification technology) smart tags the system allows care staff to view, record and evidence location-based actions right down to room level. This includes workflows for housekeeping and maintenance that are monitored by a hygiene auditing system. The Hygiene Audits platform gathers, monitors, and displays the data on a management dashboard. With it, managers are better equipped to quickly identify problem areas and assign the corrective action needed to reduce risks of infection transmission.
Eimear Galvin, HIHI Manager TCD, said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic reinforced the importance of infection control and effective decontamination of surfaces. Equally, building a strong digital infrastructure in the Irish health service is paramount. Tech solutions such as those provided by Hygiene Audits can move the Irish system forward in both of these areas.”
Claire Phelan, General Manager UPMC Kildare Hospital, said:
“Hygiene Audits brought great visibility to our overall cleaning approach. We gained great insights and used the data captured and operating dashboards to address gaps in service.”
Hygiene Audits was one of the companies that won the HIHI 2020 annual call. The annual HIHI call brings finalists together for a national dragon’s den style pitch, with the winning products fast tracked into Ireland’s health service for study. HIHI designed a pilot with Hygiene Audits and clinical partner UPMC Kildare Hospital.