Can Big data help prevent antibiotic resistance? Danish Videnskab.dk (Science.dk) has written an article about how our data can help prevent one of the most life-threatening events of our century. It shows why we do what we do at Sani nudge!

Each time infections are treated with antibiotics; the risk of resistance rises. That is, the antibiotic cure stops working because the bacteria that cause the infection, learn to fight it. Moreover, the infections prolong hospitalization and, in the worst cases, may lead to invalidity or death. The United Nations Health Organization WHO has given the problem serious attention but so far, no good alternative to treat infections other than through antibiotics has been found.

However, rather than looking at a solution to fight the problem once it already occurred, why not try to prevent the problem in the first place? It is known that good hand hygiene is an easy and effective way to avoid infections. Limiting infections, will limit the use of antibiotics and therefore reduce the chance of resistance being developed.

This was the starting point for a three-year hygiene improvement project at two Danish hospitals.

Big Data paves the way to significant improvement in hygiene

By using the latest sensor technology on liquor dispensers, staff name plates and patient beds large amounts of data (also called Big Data) were collected on the staff's hand hygiene and motion patterns. This information was used by the departments to focus on hand hygiene.

The results were staggering:

  • Twice as many people remembered to sanitize after a visit to the toilet.
  • Three times as many remembered to sanitize before handling medication.
  • The staff's hand hygiene is best during the day and the worst at night.
  • Hand hygiene is best on weekdays and worst on weekends and holidays.

A data-driven approach has clearly proved its benefits because it provides an objective and detailed picture of the hygiene of the hospitals. To establish real success however, it should not be forgotten that the insights are a starting point for the staff to talk about and reflect on it.

Artificial intelligence is the next technological longitudinal jumper

Future possibilities to develop the automated hygiene system include the leveraging of the large amounts of data collected. This will make it possible to not only analyze past behavior, but also to accurately predict what will happen in the future. By taking this route, hospitals will have an even stronger tool at their disposal to eradicate infections once and for all.

Sani nudge has just received DKK 200,000 from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) to realize just that. They will collaborate with researchers at DTU to develop computer algorithms that can predict situations in the hospital that result in infections.

To read the full article click here.