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Improving Hand Hygiene Compliance

In the 1840s, Ignaz Semmelweis demonstrated a drastic reduction in mortality by infection through improvements in hand hygiene practices. And, since then, studies continue to show a reduction in HAI rates as hand hygiene compliance improves. Yet, compliance with hand hygiene continues to be a problem in health care organizations today. Thus the first set of targeted solutions was created by eight of the Center’s participating hospitals and health care systems. These organizations worked closely with the Center using Robust Process Improvement® (RPI®) to identify barriers and develop solutions to hand hygiene compliance.

Project Team

The project teams utilized RPI methods and tools in the development of their solutions. RPI is a fact-based, systematic, and data-driven problem-solving methodology. It incorporates specific tools and methods from Lean Six Sigma and change management methodologies. Using RPI, the project teams discovered the contributing factors that led to a lack of hand hygiene compliance. The team then developed proven-effective solutions to address these factors and improve hand hygiene compliance thereby reducing healthcare-associated infection rates.

Project Team
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, California
Exempla Lutheran Medical Center, Colorado
Froedtert Hospital, Wisconsin
Memorial Hermann The Woodlands, Texas
The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Maryland
Trinity Health, Michigan
Virtua, New Jersey
Wake Forest Baptist Health, North Carolina

Project Results

Many other hospitals across the country of various sizes collaborated with the Center to test the work of the original eight organizations and provided guidance on the development on the Hand Hygiene Targeted Solutions Tool (TST). These hospitals experienced the same gains as the first eight organizations, on average improving hand hygiene compliance by 23 percent and sustaining those improvements over time.

Project Results

  • The original organizations that worked on the hand hygiene project were surprised to learn that their rate of hand hygiene compliance averaged 47.5% during their baseline data collection.
  • After improvements were put in place, the organizations reached an average compliance rate of 81%.
  • Compliance improvement rates were sustained for at least 11 months.

Our Hand Hygiene Targeted Solutions Tool

The Center’s Hand Hygiene Targeted Solutions Tool® (TST®) is an innovative web-based application designed to help health care organizations understand barriers to successful hand hygiene and to implement evidence-based solutions that lead to reductions in healthcare-acquired infections.

Additional Resources