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This year, a surprising number of new technologic innovations became available for primary care pediatric practice.
This year, a surprising number of new technologic innovations became available for primary care pediatric practice. Apple's long-anticipated iPad was introduced, and with it a new way for physicians to retrieve information and interact with patients and with each other. Let's take a look at this year's best products worthy of your consideration.
New ways to prevent infections
Infection control remains an important issue for both office- and hospital-based pediatricians. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends hand washing or hand sanitizing before every patient encounter. Regrettably, not all healthcare workers practice appropriate hand washing.1 As a consequence, healthcare-acquired infections continue to pose a considerable threat to patients. There were 1.7 million healthcare-associated infections and nearly 100,000 related deaths in 2002.2 Fortunately, there are new technologies (and improved older technologies) available to remedy this situation.
HyGreen from Xhale Innovations Inc is a new product that can dramatically improve the frequency of hand washing in either the hospital or office environment. It incorporates a hand-wash station, an electronic badge, and a bed sensor. The hand-wash station is wall mounted near a sink or hand-sanitizer station and senses the alcohol in either a soap or sanitizing solution when used by a healthcare worker, then electronically activates a badge worn by staff indicating that the healthcare worker can safely touch patients. The badge flashes green to let staff and patients know that the provider's hands have been sanitized. The system also electronically records hand-sanitizing events for future analysis and review. When a provider enters a patient or clinic room, a proximity sensor using wireless technology detects the badge and records the encounter. If the healthcare worker has not recently washed or sanitized his or her hands, the badge will vibrate, alerting the wearer that hand washing is needed before touching the patient. The system is affordably priced at $2,000 per room (1-time fee), plus an optional yearly maintenance fee. HyGreen has been used in several high-risk environments such as transplant clinics and has dramatically reduced the incidence of acquired infections.