From Big Data to Little Germs: Preventing HAIs by Monitoring Hand Hygiene

It is estimated that 1.7 million hospital patients in the U.S. catch a Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI) each year, resulting in 99,000 deaths.* HAIs are the fifth-leading cause of death in U.S. acute-care hospitals and cost the health system up to $33 billion. HAIs are an incredibly vexing problem for hospitals yet despite the large amount of money invested into this issue, the numbers continue to rise. Infection Control Epidemiologist Colin Furness of Infonaut explains that approaching the problem with improved measurement to figure out the cause could assist in devising better methods of preventing and controlling infections.

For more details about what is discussed in this post, please watch the full interview, featuring Colin Furness on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin here: http://bit.ly/1tuTG5S

Infection Control Solution for Hospitals

Threats posed by the pathogens that can cause infections affect not only patient and staff safety, but also a hospital’s reputation and financial health.

Infonaut, a Dapasoft partner company, has developed Hospital Watch Live (HWL) as the world’s first pervasive, automated hand hygiene and infection surveillance solution to prevent and control infections in acute care settings. The HWL platform uses ultra-accurate Real-Time Location System (RTLS) and Microsoft enterprise software that starts with measuring hand hygiene. Ultrasound transponders are worn by patients, staff, equipment, and are connected to soap and hand sanitizer dispensers.  Movements and contact, including hand hygiene activities, are time-stamped and transmitted to a nearby receiver, and are then geo-spatially analyzed.

This approach allows hospitals to move beyond hand hygiene with an unprecedented ability to understand and calculate behaviors that lead to pathways of disease. By directly measuring those behaviors that are known to spread infections, Infonaut can help hospitals introduce targeted quality improvement initiatives, while constantly gathering new evidence on the most effective infection control practices. HWL provides acute-care hospitals with the tools and knowledge to go beyond hand hygiene compliance and reach a true understanding of how to prevent and control infections.

The Path to Prevention

Despite the infection control protocols and interventions in place at many hospitals, Infonaut discovered that doctors are the most common offenders of protocols with nurses and allied health staff trailing not so far behind. Considering the amount of hand washing signage and promotion in hospitals, the practice is not engrained in visitors and patients either. After a test study, it was discovered that an average of 29.7% of patients wash their hands after using the restroom, and 39% after eating a meal. These numbers are shockingly low seeing as hand sanitizer dispensers were within the patients’ vicinity.

With hand washing being a simple and long-term solution to decreasing the numbers of HAIs, how can we instill this behavior in hospitals and long-term care facilities?  Designing an encouraging environment for hand cleaning can significantly improve the likelihood the behavior will be imitated by all individuals. Recommendations such as, multilingual signage, avoiding hand shaking, and introducing stricter protocols are just a few solutions hospitals can introduce to increase hand-washing rates and reduce instances of HAIs.

Possibly the best method to reduce HAIs is to pair technology with the above suggested behavior modifications. Infonaut discovered that this approach could be ground breaking to a healthcare organization wishing to increase hand-washing on-site. With a disease surveillance solution such as HWL, combined with a traditional hand washing program, hospitals can move beyond simple compliance and towards a real understanding of human behavior and health.

Use it or Lose it: Cogniciti Tool Paves Way for Catching Alzheimer’s Early

Our memory isn’t entirely reliable and as most would say, it’s heavily influenced by our own subjective perception. But what happens when the treasure chest of data that you so deeply depend on, falters and is no longer an accurate reference of past events? Not only do you start to forget the little things but begin to question day-to-day processes like facial recognition, credibility of recalled personal information and event recollection. It’s common to fear aging, but the fear associated with memory loss, a symptom of aging, surpasses any terror caused by a few extra gray hairs.  Individuals between the ages of 50-79 are especially vulnerable to experiencing instances of memory loss or forgetfulness and often believe these are tell-tale signs of old age. Ignoring the symptoms of memory loss can mean ignoring the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

To help individuals assess their brain health, Baycrest and MaRS partnered to form Cogniciti, relying heavily on Microsoft technology partners Dapasoft and Navantis. The resulting free online assessment tool was developed to test areas of the brain closely related to aging and is hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud. The 20 minute test intuitively compares the user’s results with other individuals within their age group. “The test taker receives a personalized report with their results, a suggested action plan, and access to a wide selection of science-based brain health information videos, books, and tools,” states Dr. Bill Crounse, Senior Director of Microsoft Worldwide Health. Users with a relatively low score can instantly receive their results and share an in-depth summary report with their practitioners to aid in devising a treatment plan.

As the leading software IT partner, Dapasoft built the solution on .Net Technology while ensuring the front-end of the project is user-friendly and responsive to all screen resolutions, specifically addressing the needs of individuals of advanced years. Our continuing relationship with Baycrest is fostering new improvements and ideas to help push this solution toward growth and healthcare adaptation.

With a set focus on healthcare, we can help your organization develop tools that create self-awareness in patients and serve as a catalyst to reach out to practitioners in the early stages of any health issue.

The Microsoft Cloud Opens for Canadian Healthcare Organizations

On June 2nd, Microsoft made one of its most significant announcements in its 30 year history in Canada – Microsoft will be offering cloud computing services on Canadian soil by opening data centers in Ontario and Quebec.

“Soon, the Microsoft Cloud will be truly Canadian,” said Kevin Turner, Worldwide Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft, when making the announcement in Toronto. “This substantial investment in a Canadian cloud demonstrates how committed we are to bringing even more opportunity to Canadian businesses and government organizations, helping them fully realize the cost savings and flexibility of the cloud,” continued Turner. The Canadian based cloud offering will support a breadth of Microsoft technology, including Microsoft Azure, their hyper-scale, enterprise-grade, and hybrid public cloud; Office 365, which puts Microsoft Office at your fingertips virtually anywhere; and Microsoft Dynamics, their leading Customer Relationship Management system.

Supported by Ontario’s Deputy Premier and President of Treasury Board, Deb Matthews, and John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, this investment will help Canadian businesses use technology to work efficiently and compete on a global level. No other cloud vendor can deliver the breadth and depth of enterprise-grade capabilities at a global scale with the flexibility of private, public, service provider & hybrid cloud delivery models based right here on Canadian soil.

Healthcare and the Cloud

With data centres on Canadian soil, the Microsoft cloud will overcome concerns that have kept healthcare organizations from adopting the cloud in the past. Healthcare cloud technology will be utilized to facilitate collaboration, break information barriers, and help coordinate care between patients and physicians. By utilizing cloud technology, health data has the means to be accessed anywhere within provincial borders without the need to be copied or transferred multiple times.

We are very excited about Microsoft’s next generation of cloud platforms as they lay a strong foundation for building the cost effective electronic healthcare solutions we need to provide cost effective, appropriate and safe healthcare across Canada. We believe in Microsoft’s potential to deliver real value in Canada for the healthcare vertical.  Microsoft’s healthcare clients now have more options when it comes to moving applications to on premise or cloud-based data centres, giving them the power to make decisions from cost and economic perspectives.

At Dapasoft, we are working closely with healthcare organizations to take advantage of the cloud. Aligning our strategy with Microsoft’s Canadian cloud means we are able to provide a very broad range of options and cost effective strategies. We are consistently redeveloping our solutions and offerings to embrace cloud technology while building and maintaining enterprise level healthcare solutions for our customers.