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Holographic nurse advises on hygiene

2 February 2012

A 'virtual nurse' is greeting staff and patients on their arrival at London's University College Hospital to remind them about good infection control practice.

The hologram virtual nurse - believed to be the first of its kind in the UK - is funded by Interserve Facilities Management, which provides cleaning services for the trust, and by Healthcare Messaging Group.

As well as advising staff, patients and visitors about the importance of hand hygiene and cleanliness, the virtual nurse also keeps patients and visitors informed about other trust projects, according to a statement.

The virtual nurse is reflected by high-definition video projectors on to a specially developed material that produces a crystal-clear image.

Visitors are regularly prompted by the virtual nurse to clean their hands at the many hand gel dispenser points around the hospital. It also has two gel dispenser units built into it.

“This initiative will help us to promote hand hygiene and deliver other key messages in a consistent and compelling manner,” said Trevor Payne, director of estates and facilities at the hospital. “Raising awareness through high-profile initiatives like this enables us to educate our patients, visitors and staff alike.”

A short study suggests the unit is being well received by patients and visitors, with one in three people in the hospital atrium using it to clean their hands during a two-hour period in November.

The virtual nurse is just one tactic used to improve awareness of the importance of infection control. Others include signs, recorded messages prompting staff and patients to clean their hands, patient information leaflets and training and education programmes.

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