Jun 18, 2015

Hand Hygiene: Are We Still Failing in Healthcare Facilities?


By on 7:18 AM

The Leapfrog Group, an advocate of transparency in quality and safety of care in U.S. hospitals, requests that adult general acute care and pediatric hospitals voluntarily complete a survey that will result in data reported publicly on issues that concern healthcare purchasers and consumers. The reported data includes hospital-acquired infections.

Leapfrog includes measures that are aligned with and endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF) as well as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and The Joint Commission.

Several studies relating to hand-hygiene practices of clinicians show varied results. Consequently, Leapfrog asks hospitals to report on the availability of in-place hospital policies and accountability requirements necessary to achieve overall compliance.

Leapfrog developed 10 recommended "safe practices" for the purpose of effective hand hygiene, including hospital-wide education, report/record keeping and submission to relevant hospital committees and board of directors, and policy and procedure implementation.

The results of the 2014 study (pdf) reveal that while progress is being made in the hand-hygiene compliance arena, hospitals still have a way to go despite an increase in the percentage of hospitals meeting all 10 of Leapfrog’s hand-hygiene practices. In 2013, 69% of hospitals reportedly met all 10 practices, while in 2014, that number was 77%. Amongst other data, the study showed that urban hospitals outshine rural facilities.

The data also showed that Florida was one of the top performing states in the country. The top five states were:
1. Oregon (with 100% of hospitals complying with handwashing regulations)
2. New Jersey (94%)
3. Florida (93%)
3.  Nevada (93%)
5.  Tennessee (90%)

The bottom five states were:
50. Wyoming (44%)
50. Wisconsin (45%)
48. Arizona (50%)
48. New Mexico (50%)
46. Missouri (59%)

Hospitals are encouraged to continue striving towards 100% hand-hygiene compliance as the nation works together to prevent harm, including death from hospital-acquired infections.


Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS), which is based in Delray Beach, Florida. Phenelle has more than 30 years experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes to implement and maintain an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission (TJC), Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies, respond to situations of noncompliance, and improve the processes for reducing risk.

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