The Human-Centered Health Blog

Bright Spot – Silver Cross


Bright Spot – Silver Cross Hospital


Silver Cross Hospital has been delivering care in the southern suburbs of Chicago since 1895.  To help advance best practices, the system is evolving its hand hygiene compliance strategy and implementing electronic monitoring.


Consistent hand washing is essential for building a culture of safety at any healthcare facility, but compliance is a challenge.  Traditionally, health systems measure hand hygiene compliance through manual direct observation. However, studies show that this method can undermine team morale while being labor-intensive, expensive, and inaccurate. 


It’s a big challenge. Hospital Acquired Infections account for over 700,000 unnecessary infections and an average of 75,000 deaths in the US annually. Georgia Pacific recently published proprietary research of findings from healthcare clinicians with sobering results below.



Silver Cross recently implemented IntelObserve®, the only electronic hand hygiene monitoring solution that uses near-field magnetic induction, plus artificial intelligence, to accurately capture hand hygiene opportunities and compliance events, and push actionable data to leaders and front-line workers.

The beauty of the system is the confidence that the compliance data is accurate and 100% unbiased. Michael Mutterer, VP of Patient Care Services, said, “We all know that hand hygiene is the simplest form of infection prevention. When people are being watched, they tend to do the right thing. Intelligent Observation’s system is always watching and reduces the variability in compliance that happens with direct observation.” 

Silver Cross is leveraging Intelligent Observation’s tools to improve compliance and strengthen the culture of patient safety. The Intelligent Observation system also has the unique ability to look at hand hygiene compliance from many angles, such as by unit, floor, role, and as specific as an individual.  Silver Cross has chosen not to take a punitive approach but instead uses the data for training and ongoing improvement of patient safety. We can all learn from their example.

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