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'Holographic nurse' used to promote hand hygiene

A “virtual nurse” who greets visitors and reminds them about the need for good hand hygiene is being trialled at University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust.

It is the first time the futuristic approach to infection control has been tried in the UK.

A hologram is produced by reflecting high definition video projectors on to a specially developed material to give a clear image. It can be set to appear as different people or animations, and the pre-recorded messages it speaks can be changed to reflect current information.

Should the trial be successful, the trust plans to introduce more virtual nurse units and to expand their role to include “way-finding” services, as well as giving area-specific information.

A short, two hour trial of the virtual nurse in November suggested it could substantially increase the use of hand gel. The number of visitors using sanitiser placed at the entrance to the hospital increased from 2.1% to 33% when the virtual nurse was switched on.

Trevor Payne, the trust’s director of estates and facilities, said the virtual nurse helped promote key messages in a “consistent and compelling manner”.

“Raising awareness through high-profile initiatives like this enables us to educate our patients, visitors and staff alike,” he said.

The trial will be funded by the trust’s cleaning services provider Interserve Facilities Management. A spokesman said there would no cost to the NHS.

Readers' comments (8)

  • How long before this replaces the real thing?

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  • as people get used to it they will probably walk past it without even noticing. what about having a campaign with kind, smiling, friendly and smart real live nurses at the entrance to hospitals welcoming visitors and handing out gel and a brief chat to visitors - and don't start bleating about staffing levels and money again! this argument is very fatigued and burnt out!

    the front entrance to our local hospital is a disgrace and not the epitome of good hygiene or efficiency. it has more the air of a souk with boutiques selling junk foods and drinks and scruffy clothes hanging around, and an equally scruffy cafe with paper cups lying around. tidying it up and having a few professional looking and friendly staff present would be refreshing, give a better impression that the hospital is serious about its job and set a good example of hygiene, cleanliness, efficiency to the public and help to restore their trust.

    we have now gone over the top with the virtual, sterile and totally impersonal.

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  • don't forget to issue visitors with the tick box questionnaire to ensure that they have seen the hologram and gelled their hands and hair!

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  • Hang on a minute. 1st April is another couple of months away!

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  • I don't know if this sort of thing can be tampered with, but not so long ago we had life-size cardboard cut-out nurses conveying the same message (with sound). Many were destroyed, defaced or stolen and the messages were changed, some of which were disgusting. They didn't last long and a total waste of money. I expect these more hi-tech images will be harder to be abused, but will pose an irresistible challenge to some!! ....And yet another innovation that moves away from face to face communication.

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  • Why are people using alcohol gel at the hospital enterence? how out of date?
    Does this trust not practice WHO's five moments of hand hygiene?

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  • Little One

    Ultimately, once people get used to the Holographic image and it's words, no one will pay any attention to it. The posters and alcohol gel points used to make a huge difference, now people just walk straight past them.

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  • I am sorry to have to say this but inthe current climate of austerity I feel this is a wanton waste of money. What is wrong with infection control nurses?

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