IBM Employs RFID to Enforce Hand Washing in Hospitals

As we all know, hospitals are hotbeds to dangerous bacteria like MRSA, yet such bacterial infections can be easily stopped if hospital workers wash their hands on a regular basis. To solve this problem, IBM and OhioHealth have teamed up to fight infection with the implementation of RFID technology to help improve compliance with hand washing standards at 100 times faster than previous surveillance methods.

Employers will use badges that have an integrated RFID chip, where this RFID badge will “talk” to sensors placed in different locations throughout the building. Should someone happen to walk into a patient’s room, and leaves without washing their hands, the sensor will detect the situation as such, and report to the central server.

How it works:

1. Wireless sensors are used to detect when hospital staff enter and exit patient rooms.

2. RFID and other sensors are located at hand-washing stations in patient rooms and hallways connected through a wireless mesh network. They capture time-stamped information on use of each hand washing station.

3. Hand-washing data is streamed from sensors through cloud-based technology where it is analyzed and stored.

4. The information is streamed from the cloud to be used for real-time feedback, on demand reports, presentations and compliance studies by hospital administrators to take corrective action where necessary.