Real-time feedback increases biosecurity compliance

By Rob Hannam

Real-time monitoring and feedback have been shown to significantly improve biosecurity compliance. In addition to communication, training and education, the role of technology should not be overlooked to boost your biosecurity program.

Racicot et al. (2022) conducted a pilot project to monitor and evaluate the frequency of hand sanitizing and changing of boots on entry to the clean side of barns.1 RFID technology was adapted to measure boot and hand sanitizing compliance when entering and participants were provided with real-time feedback when they didn’t comply via an alarm.

RFID tags were inserted under the sole of the shoes that participants used to come to work and visitors were asked to wear specific boots with tags. Each employee could be assessed individually during their barn visits. The data were collected using RFID with an antenna installed on the floor of the clean area and connected to the alcohol-based sanitizer, detecting hand sanitation and tagged farm boots.

Hands were sanitized 173 times out of 254 opportunities (68% compliance). Of the 81 instances where hand sanitizing did not occur, 26 or about one-third, were corrected after the alarm rang, showing that real-time feedback can significantly improve compliance.


Biosecurity compliance improved significantly when real-time feedback was provided.


In a different barn, again using RFID technology, seven employees and four visitors participated in the study. Overall, 105 visits were recorded over four weeks. The RFID system recorded 89 (85%) non-compliant events in total, 60 (57%) in the first 2 weeks when there was not an alarm; 29 (28%) in the last 2 weeks (with alarms). There was a significant difference when real-time feedback through technology was provided.

The authors observed that monitoring and real-time feedback improved biosecurity compliance nearly double the percentage compared to previous studies that used hidden cameras for observation.2

These results confirm the findings of another study, where after 49 days of visit notifications, the number of unauthorized visits noticeably decreased and then stabilized. The authors attribute the drastic decrease in unauthorized visits to the digitization of biosecurity.3

After a few weeks of recording visits and alerts, meetings were held with all types of farm visitors (maintenance, visitors, veterinarians, transportation, etc.), to show them their own data and how it did not fit with the company’s biosecurity protocols. The digitization of biosecurity allowed the data to be visualized, resulting in improved compliance with protocols and stronger biosecurity.

Biosecurity practices may not always be followed as well as farm owners and veterinarians think or would like them to be. The biggest fear is that not implementing practices will result in a biosecurity breach or breakdown that causes a barn to break with disease. Among the strategies for successful biosecurity implementation, technology and real-time feedback can play a significant role in improving practices.