Do no harm. That’s the core message of the Hippocratic Oath taught to aspiring physicians in medical school. However, it’s difficult to uphold this promise when treatment facilities are also where bacteria and viruses are spread.
This is why it’s so critically important to maintain infection control in your healthcare centres, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research has shown that during the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020, just over 10% of infections were hospital-acquired. Further, previous viral outbreaks by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) were primarily transmitted from human to human within healthcare settings.
Analysis by the Journal of Hospital Infection found that hospital-acquired infections (HAI) in Scotland resulted in a median length of stay of 30 days compared to non-HAI patients at 3 days. They estimate that 58,000 bed-days are occupied due to HAI each year.
With the use of modern tracking technology like Redpoint’s ultra-wideband (UWB), infections within hospitals can be better contained, reducing the number of HAI patients, resulting in lower bed occupancy.
The Importance of Contact Tracing
In a confined setting with limited exposure like a hospital or other healthcare facility, identifying persons who may have come into contact with an infected person is vital to contact tracing.
With COVID-19, the infection can be transmitted in three principal ways:
- Droplets or aerosols – The most common form of transmission, the virus can be present in droplets or aerosols expelled during coughing, sneezing or talking.
- Airborne transmission – Research shows the virus can live in the air for up to 3 hours so if you breathe in the exhaled air of an infected person, you risk infection.
- Surface transmission – The least common method, the virus can live for up to 2-3 days on plastic surfaces or stainless steel. If a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches their nose, mouth or eyes, they could get infected.
In addition, researchers say a person infected with COVID-19 will pass it on to 2-6 people.
Modern tracking technology like UWB can be used to track the contact between patients and staff using low-latency smart tags. With a data resolution up to 10-25 cm, you capture highly accurate proximity data between individuals and the cumulative time they spend together.
In addition, you leverage other benefits such as:
- Monitoring adherence to infection control protocols
- Using real-time data to initiate control actions without delay
- Uploading contact event data to the central server through the UWB network
- Maintaining historical data for accurate contact tracing
- Using historical data to create more effective infection control protocols
How Does UWB Improve Infection Control?
Redpoint’s UWB technology uses radio frequencies that are ideal for dense indoor locations like hospitals or similar medical facilities. The result is an accurate tool that tracks your patients and staff giving you real-time proximity data with a resolution of up to 10-25 cm.
This data allows you to track known infected patients or staff throughout your facility in real-time so you can isolate them as quickly as possible. Using historical data, you can also trace their exposure to other patients or staff to isolate and test them as well.
Some critical benefits of effective infection control protocols include:
- Reduce antibiotic prescriptions. Fewer infections result in fewer antibiotics being consumed. This also minimizes the risk of microbiological resistance.
- Reduce bed days. Patients can be discharged faster, reducing the pressure on hospital staff and resources.
- Reduce cost of care. This is due to the better utilization of hospital resources and reduction in medications prescribed.
By creating and adhering to more effective infection control protocols, you improve the quality of care for your patients and minimize health risks from HAI. This improves patient safety and results in better clinical outcomes for their initial treatment.
To learn more about how Redpoint can help you improve your contact tracing and create more effective infection control protocols, click here to contact us today.