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The move to improve hand hygiene compliance

January 8, 2015
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare conducted a patient safety project on hand hygiene, which ran from December 2008 to September 2010 at eight U.S. hospitals. The center’s team of experts shared the results in an article published in the January issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety

Lean, Six Sigma and change management methods were used to measure the rate of noncompliance, assess specific causes of hand hygiene failure, develop and test targeted interventions, and sustain levels of improvement.

The team found that hand hygiene compliance averaged 47.5 percent across all eight hospital locations and noted 41 causes for noncompliance. Each hospital implemented its own interventions, and compliance improved to 81 percent, a level that was sustained for until the project ended.

After the project’s completion, the center worked with several other hospitals to create web-based tools to allow other healthcare organizations avail themselves of the methods used in the project. The Targeted Solutions Tool (TST) for Hand Hygiene helps healthcare organizations discover the causes of noncompliance and target appropriate interventions. “Beyond the Collaborative: Spreading Effective Improvement in Hand Hygiene Compliance,” an article that also appears in the January issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, notes that in the first three years, TST has been used by 289 healthcare organizations to implement 1,495 projects aimed at hand hygiene compliance improvement.

Of the projects where data were available, in the hospital setting compliance increased from 57.9 percent to 83.5 percent. Similar improvements were also seen in other healthcare settings, such as long-term care and ambulatory surgery centers.

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