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Local Hospitals Find Video Monitoring Helps Reinforce Good Hygiene

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After installing a video monitoring in its ICUs, hand-washing among staff at a North Shore-LIJ hospital skyrocketed, and now a Queens hospital in the same health system is hoping to see similar success in its operating rooms. NY1's Health reporter Erin Billups filed the following report.

In 2008, North Shore University Hospital installed video cameras in its intensive care rooms, making sure the staff was observing proper hand hygiene. Compliance jumped from around 6 percent to over 80 percent.

"Then we decided to take this into the operating room," says Dr. John DiCapua, the chair of North Shore LIJ Anesthesiology.

Already eight operating rooms at North Shore LIJ's Forest Hills Hospital in Queens are outfitted with remote video auditing, monitoring whether the staff is going through the "surgical safety checklist," a series of questions compiled by the World Health Organization that must be answered before anesthesia, the first incision and after the surgery is complete.

"If you adhere to the concept of doing this checklist, then you will reduce morbidity and mortality in your hospital. We believe strongly in that," says DiCapua.

Everything that happens in the operating room is broadcast to a third party in either India or Alabama. They monitor the procedure and then provide feedback to the hospital.

"Our central server database captures that information and automatically feeds either an alert straight to the chief of anesthesiology, the head of nursing, if something went off track or was questionable," says Adam Aronson, the CEO of Arrowsight.

The video system will also monitor whether the ORs are cleaned properly after each surgery.

Status updates are posted on boards throughout the hospital and sent to staff smartphones, which helps reduce room turnover time as well.

"Which reduces agitation and improves patient satisfaction," Aronson says.

Since the pilot program was launched in March, the hospital is already seeing results.

"We're at 100-percent compliance with the surgical timeouts," says DiCapua.

DiCapua insists the system is not viewed as "Big Brother" by doctors and nurses.

"This is about people wanting to do better, but now they're getting information that allows them to do it," he says. "And by avoiding pointing out an individual, the team lets down their guard."

They hope to expand the OR cameras to other North Shore-LIJ hospitals in the coming months.

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