DebMed Blog: Healthcare Hygiene Matters

Spreading Awareness Beyond May 5 - A 5 Part Blog Series

Posted by DebMed on May 18, 2017 12:03:38 PM

While May 5 World Hand Hygiene Day and other similar awareness events do a good job at sharpening focus on the critical need for continuous improvement in hand hygiene performance, we know that efforts to create meaningful and lasting change need to happen all year round.

To continue the dialogue on hand hygiene compliance, we thought it a good time to recap our five-part blog series which covers best practices for driving effective hand hygiene compliance. The series will discuss the impact that product and behavior drivers have on compliance, including: key considerations of hand sanitizer (wet time, coverage and efficacy); the importance of product availability, location and ease of use; the critical role of educating staff on why, when and how to clean hands; and the role that monitoring and feedback plays in improving staff performance. 

This is the first of our five-part series

It’s Time for a New Focus on Hand Hygiene Compliance

Hospitals, health systems and other healthcare facilities along the continuum of care face daily challenges related to infection prevention and control. Working together, using effective interventions, clinicians and executives have already made progress toward the ultimate goal of eliminating infections that compromise the health and safety of hospital patients. According to the CDC HAI Progress Report published last year

Among national acute care hospitals, the report found, between 2008 / 2009 and 2014:

  • 50% reduction in CLABSI
  • 17% reduction in certain SSIs

And between 2011 and 2014:

  • 8% reduction in diff infections
  • 13% reduction in MRSA

These results tell us that it is possible and within our reach to make meaningful progress in preventing and reducing HAIs.

It’s well known and not controversial that hand hygiene plays a critical role in infection control – especially given the potent threat of life-threatening bacteria such as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE).  

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) like MRSA and C. difficile also pose serious financial risks. Medicare cut payments in 2016 by 1 percent for 758 hospitals with higher rates of healthcare-associated infections and other conditions including blood clots, bed sores and falls. This is the second year of the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program.

Beyond pushing for enhanced infection control, hospitals and health systems continue the drive for high-quality, safe, efficient and cost-effective care. Meanwhile, they must confront new and emerging challenges—from value-based accountable care and population health management, to patient engagement and enhancing the patient and provider experience. Also on the horizon: frameworks like the “Social determinants of health", a concept that conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes

To aid in the fight against HAIs, growing numbers of hospitals across the U.S. and Canada have re-focused efforts to increase staff hand hygiene compliance, seeking new and improved tools to aid them in this important effort. The main challenges include eliminating the barriers that contribute to less than optimal hand hygiene and empowering healthcare workers as a high functioning team to put practices into place that allow for the best team performance.  

Drivers - Compliance.jpg

This requires that facility leaders examine and address multiple drivers that influence compliance. The most successful facilities have embraced a multimodal strategy like the one recommended by WHO, which involves various factors, including dispenser location, education, and hand hygiene product selection and use. These issues will be discussed in more detail in upcoming posts.

Topics: hand hygiene, hand hygiene compliance

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The DebMed blog is the go-to source for hand hygiene and infection prevention related discussions occurring in the healthcare industry. Join the conversation! All readers are invited to comment, share stories and information, and post articles of interest.

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