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Hospital infections and staff hygiene issues

Going to the hospital these days can be a risky proposition -- just because you run the risk of picking up an infection while you're there.

Sometimes, infections just happen -- but there are plenty of times that staff members forget to follow the proper procedures, leaving patients in serious danger.

One research team has turned to artificial intelligence (AI) to combat the problem. They're using cameras and computers to watch what happens on the hospital floors -- by finding a new way to track how well staff members follow the appropriate hygienic practices. Up to this point, hospitals have had to largely rely on self-reporting and the observation of other staff members (who may or may not be willing to turn in a fellow employee who forgot to wash his or her hands before handling a patient).

Researchers from Stanford University placed high-tech cameras in hallways, by hand-sanitizing stations and in patient rooms. They tracked activity for a single hour.

In that single hour, 170 staff members and visitors went into patient rooms. Only 30 people actually followed the recommended hygiene protocol necessary to prevent infections.

Based on those results, researchers are now planning on putting artificial intelligence monitors around three hospitals to monitor a year's worth of activity, using regular check-ins as training materials and actively seeking to make the staff more conscious of their actions. They want to see if it lowers the rate of hospital-acquired infections in patients.

If you've acquired an infection while in the hospital, an attorney can speak with you about the possibility of a lawsuit. In particular, you should consider a lawsuit if you have an infection around or in a surgical site -- that indicates something less than sanitary may have happened during or after surgery. Infections as a result of poor care of medical devices, like catheters, are also a cause for concern.

Source: engadget, "Researchers use AI to monitor hospital staff hygiene," Mallory Locklear, Aug. 14, 2017

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