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Monday 11:53 CST, April 23, 2018

Memorial Hermann - CEO Statement

G. Steven "Steve" Sanderssanders
Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital

When Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital was invited to collaborate with The Joint Commission’s Center for Transforming Healthcare, we viewed it as an opportunity to address and potentially resolve a quality issue that is critical to each and every hospital in our country.

It is well documented that one of the best ways to curb hospital acquired infections is the use of good hand hygiene among health care providers. In fact, the positive impact of hand hygiene on infection has been recognized for more than 160 years, yet compliance still remains a challenge because good hand hygiene is much easier said than done. According to the literature, a conservative estimate for the number of hand hygiene opportunities in a 12-bed ICU is 2,880 per day. This sheds some light on why attaining a high hand hygiene compliance rate is extremely challenging and why it is critical that good hand hygiene becomes second nature to us all.

Fundamentally, staff needs to understand the expectations, be trained appropriately, and have ready access to hand sanitizers or sinks. We have made certain that hand sanitizers are available. Additionally, based on our data, hand hygiene compliance was significantly lower when staff wore gloves. So clearly one of our interventions was to provide education with facts regarding hand hygiene and gloves. Another focus of change has been revising certain workflow processes to incorporate hand hygiene into the process. This is particularly true for processes that require staff to be pushing equipment or carrying items. Multiple solutions must be implemented in order to have the hand hygiene compliance rate that we expect and will ultimately achieve.

Our participation in this project has already resulted in accurate measurement and increased awareness regarding hand hygiene. Leadership commitment and collegial accountability are key drivers, and we are committed to holding each other accountable. We believe that this is a necessary solution to achieve and sustain a high compliance rate. I firmly believe it is the right thing to do for our patients and ourselves. Achieving optimal hand hygiene and thus significant reductions in hospital acquired infections makes for everyday being a safer day.