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GOJO Brings Wi-Fi-based RFID to Hand-washing Dispensers

AeroScout and Ekahau are each offering solutions that operate with GOJO's Purell hand-hygiene solution dispensers to track hand-washing compliance.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 22, 2011Hand hygiene and skin care product company GOJO Industries is working with vendors of Wi-Fi-based RFID tags to create hand-washing compliance solutions that organizations could use to automatically track their staff members' usage of GOJO's Purell hand sanitizer, to ensure that hands have been properly disinfected. The solutions will allow hospitals, for example, to monitor hand-washing compliance to reduce hospital-acquired infections (HAI). The systems could also be used at medical clinics and food-handling sites.

Two options—one using AeroScout's hardware and software, the other, using Ekahau's—will be marketed and sold by their respective RFID technology companies, with GOJO providing its dispensers with the appropriate built-in hardware. The RFID-enabled systems are designed to help hospitals create a record of hand-washing compliance and also send alerts to individuals when they attempt to meet with a patient without washing their hands. Initially the technology will be trialed in U.S. hospitals although the RFID-enabled systems can be sold internationally.

GOJO invented the Purell instant hand sanitizer in 1988 for use by food-service and health-care providers for situations when people lacked access to soap and water. The company reacquired the Purell brand from Johnson & Johnson in October 2010, after having previously sold it to the Warner Lambert division of Pfizer in 2004. At about the same time it reacquired the Purell brand, the company approached both AeroScout and Ekahau for a Wi-Fi based solution to work with GOJO's new SmartLink series of sanitizer dispensers.

"Today, everyone understands the importance of hand hygiene in providing basic patient care," says Shawn Warthman, GOJO's compliance systems director. "However, despite the advancement of the U.S. health care over the past 50 years, very little has been accomplished in terms of improving the degree of hand hygiene compliance." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average nationwide compliance rate at health-care facilities is at 35 to 40 percent. In an effort to address this problem, GOJO asked both AeroScout and Ekahau to design a system around their existing RTLS technology. "We're excited about this solution because of the robust platforms these leading RTLS vendors provide for monitoring hand hygiene," says Warthman.

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