An intensive care nurse has won a regional award for her work on improving infection prevention and control by transforming hand washing compliance using real-time tracking technology.
Clare Nash, from Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, has received the NHS Innovator of the Year for the West Midlands region award in the NHS Leadership Recognition Awards.
Ms Nash, an intensive and critical care nurse, won the accolade for her work enhancing patient safety at the trust through the SafeHands programme, for which she is programme manager.
The SafeHands programme uses real-time locating software provided by a company called TeleTracking.
The innovation has helped the trust enhance infection prevention and control by automatically monitoring hand-washing compliance.
“I have been fortunate to work closely with IT partners… to lead change and improve patient outcomes by using real-time technology – this has been an extremely rewarding journey”
It uses a combination of infra-red and radio-frequency technology to accurately pinpoint the locations of tagged equipment, badged patients and staff. The information can be monitored in real-time on large touch screens and computers.
Its New Cross Hospital increased hand-washing monitoring by 1,000% in one month and, last year, the system helped the trust achieve over one million hand hygiene observations versus 600 visual observations.
The trust is also extending its use of the technology to help with patient flow and capacity management, as well as other areas of infection prevention.
For example, the system can track the role of every badged staff member who comes in contact with an infected patient, enabling rapid isolation and screening.
Ms Nash has been working on the design, implementation and evaluation of the system with colleagues for over four years. She said: “As a nurse, patient safety is at the heart of what I do.”
She said working closely with the IT specialists to “lead change and improve patient outcomes” had “been an extremely rewarding journey”.
“Winning this award is a huge honour which recognises the commitment and hard work of the whole team that contributed to the programme design, build and implementation,” she added.
As a regional winner, Ms Nash will automatically be entered into the national version of the awards, which are due to be held in February.