Lean Blog Interviews — 205: Joe Schnur, Hand Hygiene & Patient Safety

Episode #205 is a conversation with Joe Schnur, VP Business Development at Intelligent M, a company that “designs data-driven hand hygiene compliance improvement solutions for hospitals that dramatically reduce healthcare-acquired infections and their associated costs.” Joe and I share a passion for improving patient safety and we’ve had a number of great conversations comparing notes on the problem and the different ways we need to work toward solving it. We decided to finally record one of those discussions for a podcast. In the podcast, Joe shares some shocking statistics about “hand hygiene compliance” – that while hospitals report numbers that are far higher, the typical care provider washes or cleans their hands only about 20% of the time. One management challenge (and sales challenge for Joe) is that hospital executives might find it too easy to sit back and point to the inaccurately high numbers that claim 90%+ compliance (numbers that are based on sampling instead of real data). When I first started talking to Joe, I was skeptical about a “monitoring” technology for healthcare professionals, since I see hand hygiene as a system problem (lack of time, empty gel dispensers) that management has to work to fix… it’s a process problem. But, I think (as in many cases) there is a role for technology that can be supportive of people (patients and staff) and can enable systemic improvement. What’s the proper balance between individual accountability and the role of “the system?” I’m curious to hear what you think (you can post a comment on this post). For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/205. For earlier episodes of the Lean Blog Podcast, visit the main Podcast page at www.leanpodcast.org, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS or via Apple iTunes. Podcasts are sponsored by KaiNexus and their continuous improvement software platform — www.KaiNexus.com