According to Eric Eskioglu, MD, Novant Health’s Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, roughly 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) occur each year. Furthermore, approximately a hundred thousand of them result in death. Hand hygiene monitoring is one technique to address this issue. Novant Health reduced the amount of hospital-acquired infections by moving to a data analytics and AI-powered hygiene monitoring system.
- Safety: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread worldwide, hospitals are searching for ways to keep their patients safe from potential hospital-acquired infections. Different methods have included hygiene monitoring, data analytics, and artificial intelligence technology. While Novant had the goal of bringing their rate of HAIs down to zero, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the team tried to accelerate the process.
- Monitors: Eskioglu explained that the system of hygiene monitoring was not effective in the time of COVID-19. While the hospital was already short-staffed, it was inefficient to pull staff members away from their work so they could watch other nurses and physicians wash their hands. With artificial intelligence technology, Novant partnered up with SwipeSense.
- Partnerships: “We started this partnership back in 2018 with Matthews Medical Center, which is a 150-bed hospital. We did a test trial. We had selected SwipeSense out of a couple of other companies. We were really impressed with their focus on data and analytics and how they could automate things that are archaic in healthcare,” Eskioglu said.
- Rate of HAI: During the pandemic, HAIs went up by 30 to 40 percent. However, at Novant Health, they saw the opposite, with their number decreasing by 30 percent. Eskioglu attributes this to the hospital’s new hygiene protocols and their use of data analytics and AI. Eskioglu is a proponent of artificial intelligence as the future of healthcare, generating positive patient outcomes.
- Equalizer: “I believe AI is becoming a great healthcare equalizer as long as they have the bandwidth in those technologies. We’re working with companies like AT&T and Verizon to ensure that those areas have the 5G bandwidth, but the people who live in those areas at least have access to an iPad or a small computer. We’re excited about AI creating equity in healthcare,” Eskioglu said.