October 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…

Monitoring Hand Hygiene Behavior

We have developed a low-cost, highly portable, real-time data-collection system that can capture healthcare worker behavior (i.e., hand hygiene) as well as the underlying social network (i.e, healthcare worker interactions over time and space). Our approach, based on our work with wireless sensor motes, automatically and reliably captures individual workers’ hand-washing behavior, including exactly where and when the behavior is performed, as well as proximity with other healthcare workers over time. Our measurement technology is effective, accurate, inexpensive, unobtrusive, and, unlike other systems based on RFID, easy and quick to deploy without the need for expensive infrastructure. Because ours is a technology-based approach, we are not limited by the costs associated with human observers. Because our technology is portable, it can be used outside large tertiary healthcare centers; in fact, our system can be deployed in outpatient clinics, outpatient surgery centers and dialysis centers. And because our technology is inexpensive, we are able to provide complete coverage of the area under study, yielding a much more accurate picture of the social milieu for analysis.

By fitting a mote to a hand sanitizer dispenser, we are able to record the use of the dispenser on both the individual’s mote as well as on the dispenser itself. We are currently able to reliably detect when a person enters a room or approaches a patient without using hand-hygiene rub.

The extended system now consists of four basic elements. As before, badge-like motes are worn by individual healthcare workers, and beacon motes are placed about the hospital unit, including in patient rooms (e.g., affixed to the patient bed frame) so that proximity to patients can be directly inferred. Wall-mounted automated hand-sanitizer dispensers, modified to incorporate a sensor mote, are placed at multiple locations in the unit. In contrast to the other elements, which broadcast identifying message packets at regular intervals, each mote on a hand-hygiene dispenser broadcasts a low-power identifying packet only when sanitizing liquid (generally an alcohol-based gel) is dispensed. Finally, small base stations (ARM-processor-equipped computers, with significantly more processing and storage than the other three elements), serve as both beacons and data aggregation and analysis systems.

From left to right: healthcare workers wear rechargeable badge-like sensor motes; fixed location sensor mote beacons are located, e.g., on patient beds; wall-mounted automated hand-sanitizer dispensers are modified to incorporate motes triggered by use; and base stations serve as beacons (location anchors) and data aggregation points.