Podcast #205 – Joe Schnur, Innovations for 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 my podcast, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS or via Apple Podcasts.  You can also listen via Stitcher.

How the Intelligent M band works:

Podcast eBook:

Feedback & Comments:

If you have feedback on the podcast, or any questions for me or my guests, you can email me at leanpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave a voicemail by calling the “Lean Line” at (817) 993-0630 or contact me via Skype id “mgraban”. Please give your location and your first name. Any comments (email or voicemail) might be used in follow ups to the podcast.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Brilliant idea, but I understand that Dutch Handwash experts will not advise to use the device, because of …..washing/desinfecting problems of the device itself and the skin under the device.

    Any data that undermines this statement?


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