sani nudge Hygiene Expert Dr. Marco Bo Hansen discusses Technology and Hygiene Practices on Danish P4 Radio Program “Public Service”

Whether you are an Infection Control Nurse or a global citizen eager to improve your hygiene habits for the betterment of society, this information is for you.

On May 3rd, 2020, Dr. Marco Bo Hansen, Medical Director for Sani nudge, was a guest on “Public Service”,  a Danish radio program on P4 with around 1 million listeners. He was joined by two sani nudge clients, nurses representing Aarhus University Hospital and Bispebjerg Hospital to discuss the Sani nudge system and their success with it. 

Danish speakers can listen to the program segment here. Highlights in English can be found below.

The full P4 Podcast is available at: DR.DK Public Service May 3, 2020.

“When I see my own data and become more self aware of my behavior, I take necessary steps to improve. Knowing that the data behind our behaviors helps us capture the best opportunities for success in hygiene.” Anne-Mette Iversen of Aarhus University Hospital shared after the podcast about how she explores good ideas for improving hand hygiene personally and in managing the hygiene of her department. 

Highlights of the May 3, P4 Podcast on sani nudge and Hygiene

Iversen on the sani nudge system: “We have told the system which algorithms and guidelines it should use for hand hygiene, so when you for example, walk into the medication room the system knows that it is a clean room, which means that the staff should sanitize hands when entering the room. In the same way, we have told the system that staff toilets are unclean rooms, which means that staff should perform hand hygiene when leaving this room. By using these algorithms and sensors, we get data that shows whether staff are following the hand hygiene guidelines of the hospital. 

The data helps us to be very specific in our (hygiene) improvement work because we for the first time are able to see which rooms, time of day, and situations were there highest challenges in complying with the hand hygiene guidelines. This is a huge help in our improvement work because we can get so concrete/specific. 

Seeing the data and becoming aware of your performance creates a change in behaviour and that is very interesting because many of us might think that we perform well and are following the hygiene guidelines but after seeing the data you realise that there is room for improvement, and the awareness generates a change in behaviour.” 

P4 Host: “And this seems to work effectively.  After the system has been implemented, the hospital has experienced large improvements in hand hygiene in staff toilets where only 40% of staff remembered to sanitize after a visit before the system was installed – to now where more than 90% remembers to sanitize.” 

Lise (nurse Bispebjerg): “I think the sani nudge system has been excellent. It has helped us to optimize our focus towards hand hygiene both in terms of patient contact and when we are involved with practical tasks in the dirty rinsing room and when we pick up food in the kitchen. So I think this is really good.” 

P4 Host: “How do the staff react when being monitored?”

Lise: “I have never felt that I was being monitored. First of all, they do not know, in detail, who exactly is in a specific room, and second of all because hand hygiene is so important and crucial in hospitals, I think it is completely ok to register overall hand hygiene compliance.” 

In a follow up program on May 17, Dr. Hansen answered the public’s questions about hygiene and technology. 

Danish speakers can listen to the program segment here. A transcription in English can be found below.

The full P4 Podcast is available at: DR.DK Public Service May 17, 2020

Highlights of the May 17, P4 Podcast on Frequently Asked Questions on Hygiene

P4 Host: We have received a lot of ideas from our listeners regarding hand hygiene solutions. Several suggested solutions that provide rewards or have small sensors that remind us to wash our hands. What do you think about using technology to remind us of this behavior?

Dr. Hansen: I think that’s a really good idea. Specifically, sani nudge is already working with sensors for workplaces and office environments that, using a discreet light, reminds employees to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer. The sensors have proven quite effective, can triple the use of hand sanitation gels, and reducing absenteeism in the workplace. The sensors can also be used in schools, institutions, and canteens where you want to make sure that your employees clean up before handling food.

P4 Host: Could you imagine the development of a hand-washing app that gives direction of when to wash your hands?

Dr. Hansen: Yes, I think that is a great idea. Especially because it could increase the element of  fun and become an active part of one’s daily life. There is already a Danish app for kids, Ella’s Hand Washing Adventure and some foreign-made apps for adults. 

P4 Host: There was also an app suggested that considered using UV light which kills the bacteria. Could this be a quick and effective way to clean your hands?

Dr. Hansen: The idea is a good concept. There are already robots in hospitals that use UV light to kill viruses and bacteria. However, the wavelength required to kill the bacteria must not be used directly on humans, as it is harmful to the skin and eyes. At worst, carcinogenic. Therefore, experts should always consult with experts before embarking on projects or ideas involving UV light.

P4 Host: How about using UV light to reveal how well you have washed your hands? Our Listener Lærke suggests that you could use it to teach school students? Is that an option?

Dr. Hansen: I think that is a really innovative idea and something that we could easily use to a much greater extent to teach our children and young people to wash their hands properly. There are gels and powders that are luminous and quite harmless. It can be used to teach school students to wash their hands properly. It can also be used as small experiments to illustrate how many places and surfaces that bacteria and viruses spread through the hands.

P4 Host: After you have heard our listeners’ ideas for technical solutions to this problem, are there any of them that you would like to work with? Or maybe there are some that you already work with?

Dr. Hansen: There are many really excellent suggestions. At Sani nudge, we work on reminding people to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer. It could be nicely combined with an app that utilizes gamification (games for encouragement) or the use of luminescent powder to educate and teach others how to best perform hand hygiene. I would encourage anyone with good ideas to go to saninudge.com and contact us so that we can discuss ideas and thoughts together.

P4 Host: You are mainly working on making equipment for hospitals and nursing homes, but can you imagine possibilities for these solutions to be used in other places where hand hygiene is important such as public toilets? And what technical solutions are you currently working on, with development to hand hygiene?

Dr. Hansen: Yes, of course! To date, we have mainly focused on hospitals and nursing homes because there are many elderly people and citizens with poor immune systems needing a clean environment today. Those exist where it is particularly dangerous to get an infection. But there are clearly opportunities in workplaces, institutions, and schools as well. 

We can use the Sani nudge sensors to find out where and when the hand hygiene is in need of attention and help remind Danes that they must perform hand hygiene. We can use nudging to help get rid of the bad habits. 

The opportunities are many, and we would very much like to have a dialogue with companies, municipalities and institutions that might be interested in reducing the risk of infections. We are currently working with DTU on a project that will make infection detection automatic, fast and effective in hospitals and nursing homes.

If you are curious to know more about infection prevention and how to avoid spread of pathogens, do not hesitate to contact the sani nudge team.

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