Climate change is one of the greatest health threats of the 21st century. To avoid foreseen negative consequences, each industry must develop a strategy for limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The healthcare sector, responsible for around 5% of global emissions, is a big contributor. To put it into the perspective, if the healthcare sector were a nation, it would be ranked as the fifth-largest polluter on Earth. If no change happens by 2050, healthcare emissions are predicted to triple.
One way to decrease the emissions in healthcare could be to target one of the most resource-intensive areas of the hospital – operating theatres. Surgery is a medical operation that necessitates costly instruments, sterilising techniques, cutting-edge operating technology, and essential life support systems. All of which makes operating theatres 3-6 times more energy-intensive than the rest of the hospital and a major contributor to hospital waste (1).
What if we could decrease the number of unnecessary surgeries?
- Surgical site infections (SSIs) are among the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
- In the EU, more than 500 000 cases are registered every year (2).
- SSIs often require additional surgical procedures, longer hospital stays, readmissions and need for intensive care (2).
SSIs and other resource-demanding HAIs, which are largely preventable, generate unnecessary waste and greenhouse gas emissions, making it harder for hospitals to meet their targets and move towards net-zero emissions.
How Sani Nudge contributes to sustainable healthcare
It is well known that improved hand hygiene can prevent as much as 70% of HAIs – making it one of the most cost-effective strategies. However, increasing hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers is not always an easy task. To facilitate sustained improvement, hospitals need access to reliable data and effective, science-based improvement tools.
Sani Nudge offers many benefits compared to other hand hygiene monitoring strategies, for example, widely used direct observations.
- The system offers effective improvement tools based on nudging theory and behavioral science, ensuring sustained hand hygiene performance and a significant reduction in hospital-acquired infections (3-5).
- Sani Nudge measures hand hygiene according to the WHOs guidelines (moments 1, 4, and 5) and can be adapted to local hand hygiene guidelines when needed (3).
- Sani Nudge respects the privacy of individuals and provides hand hygiene levels to each healthcare worker anonymously without colleagues or managers being able to see them.
- Sani Nudge encourages organizational culture which is open to improvements by including healthcare workers in the co-creation of a safer environment.
- The solution is cost-effective – For each 30-bed hospital ward, just one HAI of high severity can exceed the annual budget for hand hygiene monitoring system and alcohol-based products combined.
“Based on the clinical results, installing the Sani Nudge system prevents 1706 infections, saving 179 lives and $4,25 million annually when installed in an average-sized hospital.” (6)
In other words, with Sani Nudge, each hospital can decrease the number of additional surgical procedures, readmissions, long hospital stays and be on the right track to reducing its carbon footprint.
- MacNeill AJ, Lillywhite R, Brown CJ. The impact of surgery on global climate: a carbon footprinting study of operating theatres in three health systems. The Lancet Planetary Health. 2017;1(9):e381-e388. doi:10.1016/s2542-5196(17)30162-6
- Cassini A, Plachouras D, Eckmanns T, et al. Burden of Six Healthcare-Associated Infections on European Population Health: Estimating Incidence-Based Disability-Adjusted Life Years through a Population Prevalence-Based Modelling Study. Harbarth S, ed. PLOS Medicine. 2016;13(10):e1002150. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002150
- Iversen AM, Kavalaris CP, Hansen R, et al. Clinical experiences with a new system for automated hand hygiene monitoring: A prospective observational study. Am J Infect Control. 2020 May;48(5):527-533.
- Knudsen AR, Kolle S, Hansen MB, Møller JK. Effectiveness of an electronic hand hygiene monitoring system to increase compliance and reduce healthcare-associated infections. J Hosp Infect. 2021 May 28;S0195-6701(21)00214-0.
- Stangerup M, Hansen MB, Hansen R, et al. Hand hygiene compliance of healthcare workers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic: A long-term follow-up study. Am J Infect Control. 2021;S0196-6553(21)00430-2.
- Hansen, MB. Reduction of hospital-acquired infections using the sani nudgeTM system [White paper]. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ebMFyx6QuJzwCCx6_fcbUMFzwd9mI-63hgSF4-wCfew/edit?usp=sharing