May 1, 2015
Congratulations 2014–15 CompEpi PhD graduates Geoff Fairchild (Los Alamos National Laboratories), Jason Fries (Stanford University), Valerie Galluzzi (Rose Hulman Institute of Technology), Mauricio Monsalve (The University of Iowa), Alessio Signorini (Evidation Health) and Lucio Tolentino (Mashable.com).

April 13, 2015
Our paper entitled Hand Hygiene Duration and Technique Recognition using Wrist-Worn Sensors was presented at the 14th International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks.

October 20, 2014
Two papers about electronic measurement of hand washing have been published in the October’s issue of ICHE journal: one about the influence of coworkers on hand washing rates, and the other on detection of hand washing movement and its duration.

September 15, 2014
Our paper Mining the Demographics of Craigslist Casual Sex Ads to Inform Public Health Policy, Casual Sex-seeking Individuals has been presented at the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Healthcare Informatics.

November 3, 2013
Presented our work on coping with radio signal uncertainty has been presented at the 2013 Wireless Health conference.

December 13, 2012
Vaccine Refused, our new project to facilitate data collection from point of refusal, was released in the iTunes App Store for use by U.S. medical professionals.

November 9, 2012
Dr. Philip Polgreen and graduate student Jason Fries were featured on Iowa Public Radio discussing our research on hand hygiene in hospitals. Iowa Public Radio

February 1, 2012
Our article The Use of Twitter to Track Levels of Disease Activity and Public Concern in the U.S. During the Influenza A H1N1 Pandemic has won the Robert Wood Johnson’s Foundation Most Influential Research Articles of 2011.

March 4, 2011
Check out our new PLoS One article on Twitter and the H1N1 pandemic.

April 21, 2011
A new iScrub article on Infection Control Today (ICT)! iScrub Phone App Pilot Project Boost Hand Hygiene Compliance

April 4, 2011
iScrub in the news! New iPhone application improved hand hygiene compliance

April 1, 2011
CompEpi presented some new research at the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA 2011) in Dallas, Texas. Read more

December 1, 2010
Our group was well-represented at the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS 2010) in Park City, Utah. Read more

May 4, 2010
Do health care professionals perform hand hygiene? We’ve got an app for that! Read the press release.

March 17, 2010
The Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare Associated Infections advance press release features CompEpi research.

November 5, 2009
CompEpi graduate students Jason Fries, Donald Curtis, and Chris Hlady were winners in the Faculty/Staff/Graduate Assistant Business Plan Competition, hosted by the UI Business College’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, where they pitched the next generation iScrub system.

September 9, 2009
iScrub, our new iPhone/iPod Touch application for infection control professionals, is now available online at the Apple iTunes store.

June 18, 2009
Try our Maximal Coverage Calculator for near-optimal placement of sentinel surveillence sites.

More news…

A 3D Virtual Reality Hand Hygiene Compliance
Training Simulator

J. Bertrand, S.V. Babu, M. Gupta, A.M. Segre, P.M. Polgreen
21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (April 2011)


Background: Human observers are commonly used to monitor hand-hygiene compliance, but there is no standard approach to training these observers. Instructional videos exist, but they are primarily geared toward educating healthcare workers, not compliance monitors. Also, they represent a passive form of learning and they do not include a mechanism to evaluate how or even if participants learn.

Objective: To build a 3D virtual reality hand hygiene simulator that teaches all of the WHO 5 moments in an interactive environment.

Methods: The hospital architectural computer aided design (CAD) files were imported into the Blender development environment to create accurate 3D models of the hospital environment. A visual database of objects such as doors, beds, and medical equipment was used to populate every scene according to the locations of objects in the real clinical setting. Poser Pro was used to create realistic virtual character geometries as well as clothing and accessories (e.g., hair). To create high-fidelity animations for the virtual characters in the training simulation we imported motion capture files from the Carnegie-Mellon Motion Database pertaining to walking, and key-framed animations associated with hand washing and patient interventions. Virtual characters representing healthcare workers and patients move about in the pedagogical scenarios and perform activities based on the movements of people in the actual hospital ward.

Results: Below are the three main phases of the training simulation: (1) A tutorial phase in which the trainee learns the 5 Moments of hand hygiene in succession from the virtual instructor. The instructor teaches the trainee the situations pertaining to each moment with demonstrations, using speech, gestures and expressions. (2) An interactive training phase in which the trainee experiences ten randomly generated scenarios consisting of a virtual nurse “Simon” interacting with virtual patients and the hospital environment. The trainee has to evaluate if Simon follows the proper hand-hygiene procedures. The trainee records his or her observations via an evaluation interface. (3) A feedback phase in which the trainee receives a score for his or her performance in accurately identifying if Simon acted in accordance with the 5 Moments of hand hygiene.

Conclusions: The novel contribution of this work is an interactive simulation to teach and train users in the 5 Moments of hand hygiene. This simulation can be used to evaluate and train observers and may increase inter-rater reliability. In addition, this simulator could be used in the same way that hand-hygiene videos are currently used to help educate healthcare workers, patients and families about hand-hygiene opportunities.

Download Abstract (PDF)