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Incubator traffic light

Development of a hand disinfection feedback system
Publication date: 01 September 2013

Developing, implementing and evaluating a hand disinfection feedback system. The systems is attached to the incubators of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Erasmus MC Sophia’s Children Hospital. The aim is to improve the observation and effectiveness of the hand hygiene of employees and thereby improve the safety for premature children.


This project started after statements from physicians, nurses and parents that the hand hygiene in hospitals is not optimal. 

Bad hand hygiene increases the risk of bloodstream infections. A hand disinfection feedback system improves the hand hygiene compliance and thereby improves the safety for premature children. Premature children bear a great risk of bloodstream infections, because their immune system is still developing. Good hand hygiene reduces the risk of infections by approximately 40%, but is regularly overlooked owing to the hectic workload. Previous studies have shown that the effect of interventions like training to improve hand hygiene washed out after a while. A new technical innovation must permanently improve good hand hygiene compliance around the incubator.

A hand disinfection feedback system has been developed, which can be compared to a traffic light that switches to green if the hands have been disinfected properly,. The system consists of an electric dispenser with a display, microcomputer, LED lighting and Wi-Fi transmitter connected to the incubator. A ‘green light’ on the incubator door and on display indicates that adequate hand disinfection has been applied and the incubator door can be opened. Data about compliance is transmitted remotely and a dashboard shows the achieved hand hygiene observation per incubator. 


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