WIHI: No Excuses, No Slack! The Latest from the Front Lines on Hand Hygiene

Date: March 7, 2013


  • Gene H. Burke, MD, Vice President and Executive Medical Director for Clinical Effectiveness, Sentara Healthcare
  • Michael Howell, MD, Director of Healthcare Delivery Science, Director of Critical Care Quality, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Lisa L. Maragakis, MD, MPH, FSHEA, Director of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Scott A. Miller, MD, FACP, Vice President, Medical Affairs, Sentara Leigh Hospital
  • Tom Talbot, MD, MPH, Chief Hospital Epidemiologist, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

One of the cornerstones of infection prevention in any health care setting, including when someone is being cared for at  home, is good hand hygiene. Much of the attention in recent years has focused on hospitals and their rates of hand hygiene compliance among staff. And rightly so. Among the biggest contributors to hospital-acquired infections are, inadvertently, health professionals themselves... and others who come in contact with patients.

The good news is that awareness of the necessity of strict hand hygiene compliance has never been greater… not just in the US, but in acute care settings globally. And this awareness has been coupled with practices that are being adhered to more reliably than ever before. But not everywhere, all the time; organizations that can tout rates as high as 95% are still the exception, not the rule, and good performers continue to face challenges closing the gap.

WIHI host Madge Kaplan gathered infection prevention leaders and clinicians from four organizations whose recent innovations with hand hygiene at their facilities represent what could be the best bet yet that 100% compliance is achievable. Sentara, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center all have fresh approaches that rely on new kinds of auditing tools to discern what really works; better surveillance, monitoring, and measuring; reengineering; constant education; and a laser-like focus on behavior and culture change.  

What’s working in your organization? How are you getting your hand hygiene compliance rates to move upward? Compare and contrast your methods with those of our guests on this WIHI.

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