Infection control has always been a topmost priority for healthcare providers – they are constantly looking for ways to prevent infection incidents within their facilities, known as hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Otherwise, HAIs will lead to patient safety issues and severely impact healthcare outcomes of affected patients, among others. However, infection incidents are now headaches of any given individual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtually everyone knows that the notorious virus spreads via contact, which is why everyone is practicing social distancing and wearing PPE. As a result, regular patients are hesitant to step into any hospital, as the latter has been treating COVID-19 victims. In order to enhance patient safety and prevent infection control issues, healthcare providers need to mitigate HAIs right from the start. Fortunately, RightPatient can help – more on that later. Let’s explore a bit more about infection prevention, how hospitals did it before the pandemic, why it is more crucial than ever, and how RightPatient can identify patients correctly and prevent HAIs simultaneously.
Pre-pandemic infection control measures within hospitals
Infection control has always been a priority as well as a challenge for many healthcare providers. Not only do HAIs add unwanted costs, but they also jeopardize patient safety and impact healthcare outcomes, sometimes resulting in permanent damage or even deaths. Thus, proactive hospitals have always been working towards mitigating infection incidents even before COVID-19 hit the US.
Let’s take a look at common measures, some recommended by WHO, that were (and still are) used by hospitals to mitigate HAIs during the pre-pandemic period.
Having an infection control policy
Healthcare providers that want zero HAIs in their facilities have policies planned to prevent such cases. The policy includes what to do during an HAI, how to identify patients correctly during such cases, where to place the affected individuals, and for how long.
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While washing hands is one of the most frequently stated strategies and might seem quite mundane to many, its effectiveness cannot be stressed enough. Handwashing with a bar of plain soap or antimicrobial agent for around twenty seconds is crucial, regardless of using gloves. This was done after interacting with blood, excretions, contaminated items, and secretions, as well as before or after drinking, eating, or caring for the patients, and mandatory for all staff members.
While PPE is a jargon that’s being used very commonly nowadays due to the pandemic, healthcare professionals have been using them for years to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. Gloves, surgical masks, face shields, eye protection, gown, etc. were always worn when interacting with body fluids, secretions, patients’ materials such as clothing, bedsheets, and so on.
Regularly keeping surfaces and materials clean
Viruses can infect others days after the original patient has left the facility, which is why cleaning and disinfecting environmental surfaces thoroughly, such as the beds, door handles, etc., are crucial. Moreover, reusable patient care materials such as bedsheets, gowns, etc. must be cleaned thoroughly, regularly, and processed appropriately before providing them to patients.
Educating about infection control
One of the more underrated infection control measures hospitals use is providing infection control education to its staff members. Usually provided as training and on a regular basis, it should focus on raising awareness among the new employees and ensuring that existing ones are vigilant regarding cleanliness. Moreover, these training sessions must emphasize how a single incident can affect everyone in the place of origin, and thus, follow all the rules to the T.
With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at why infection prevention is more important than ever.
Everyone is concerned about infection control issues now
COVID-19 is an unprecedented phenomenon that has devastated everything – it has affected our daily lives, how we interact with others, and has crippled hospitals and health systems. As previously mentioned, only healthcare providers used to focus on infection incidents prior to the pandemic. However, COVID-19 has ensured that everyone is well-versed regarding infection prevention. As a result, potential patients are highly reluctant to enter hospitals due to the fear of contracting the novel virus. Thus, caregivers need to ramp up their efforts to prevent infections within their facilities.
To fully understand how using a touchless patient identity verification solution like RightPatient can identify patients correctly and reduce infection control issues, a closer look at why providers are overlooking certain touchpoints is required.
One overlooked but crucial aspect that leads to HAIs
In a nutshell, infection control focuses on reducing the spread of contagious diseases, the number of infected people, and HAI cases to a bare minimum. While caregivers have been adeptly following their guidelines, many have often ignored certain touchpoints – registration desks and emergency departments, for instance. Yes, these areas are usually kept clean, but what about solutions such as touch-based patient identification platforms – are they hygienic?
For the majority of the caregivers, these are the touchpoints where patients initially interact with the caregivers, and thus, proper patient identification is required for accurate treatment and healthcare services. However, if the hospitals are utilizing touch-based solutions, these will lead to HAI cases. For instance, if an infected patient touches the device and if it isn’t cleaned properly, everyone else using it will become potentially infected. This will lead to isolating the affected individuals, blocking off the area, delaying healthcare services, and disrupt regular operations.
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Maintaining such touch-based solutions is quite hectic, costly, and unhygienic (requiring cleaning after every use). Moreover, these have now become ineffective due to the pandemic – patients are extremely reluctant to touch such devices. So, how can caregivers identify patients correctly, prevent infection cases, and ensure patient safety at the same time?
Identify patients correctly and ensure infection control
RightPatient is the leading patient identification platform used by several prominent healthcare providers. But why is the platform feasible and ideal for ensuring infection control? Well, RightPatient uses touchless biometrics for patient identification – it uses the patients’ faces to verify identities.
It locks the medical records when patients are enrolled with the platform using their photos. Subsequently, whenever a patient comes in, all they need to do is look at the camera – the platform matches the photos and provides the accurate medical record within seconds.
RightPatient can also be used across the care continuum to identify patients correctly, starting from appointment scheduling, providing a touchless, hygienic, and safe experience for patients and healthcare staff members.
By ensuring accurate patient identification, RightPatient avoids duplicate medical records, reduces denied claims, enhances patient safety, prevents medical identity theft, and more, making it the most feasible solution for any given healthcare provider, especially after the pandemic.
Upgrade your patient identification platform now and be a responsible caregiver by preventing infections and enhancing patient safety.
Darrent is a digital marketer, tech enthusiast & blogger.