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Incubator traffic light: the development of an alcohol-based hand rub dispenser system for neonatal incubators with visual feedback to improve hand hygiene compliance

Publication of Innovations in Care
O.K. Helder, R.H.J. Gils,van, L.S.G.L Wauben | Article | Publication date: 06 September 2019
Introduction: Sustained high compliance with hand hygiene prior to patient contact in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) could reduce the spread of pathogens and incidence of bloodstream infections of preterm infants. These infections are associated with high mortality, morbidity and additional costs. Behaviour change interventions to promote hand hygiene, such as education, have only temporary beneficial effect on compliance. Our aim is to develop a technical intervention that supports a sustainable behaviour change for appropriate hand hygiene among NICU healthcare professionals. Methods: Students from different disciplines incrementally designed and evaluated solutions in co-creation with healthcare professionals of a NICU in a teaching hospital. Results: A prototype of the ‘Incubator Traffic Light’ system for neonatal incubators was developed, that is, a touchless alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) dispenser with integrated colour display and incubator door sensor with lights. The system provides visual feedback to support healthcare professionals’ compliance with the prescribed 30 s drying time for ABHR. After 30 s, green lights indicate that the incubator doors may be opened. In the event that doors are opened without dispensing ABHR or earlier than 30 s, blinking orange lights and a display message urge the person to close the doors. The system documents compliance data in a web-based database. Conclusions: We developed a sophisticated technical intervention to support hand hygiene compliance. It is ready for clinical tests that should prove that the system contributes to sustainable hand hygiene compliance near neonatal incubators.

Author(s) - affiliated with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

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