An automated hand hygiene compliance system is associated with improved monitoring of hand hygiene

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Abstract

Background:

Consistent hand hygiene is key to reducing health care-associated infections (HAIs) and assessing compliance with hand hygiene protocols is vital for hospital infection control staff. A new automated hand hygiene compliance system (HHCS) was trialed as an alternative to human observers in an intensive care unit and an intensive care stepdown unit at a hospital facility in the northeastern United States.

Methods:

Using a retrospective cohort design, researchers investigated whether implementation of the HHCS resulted in improved hand hygiene compliance and a reduction in common HAI rates. Pearson χ2 tests were used to assess changes in compliance, and incidence rate ratios were used to test for significant differences in infection rates.

Results:

During the study period, the HHCS collected many more hand hygiene events compared with human observers (632,404 vs 480) and ensured that the hospital met its compliance goals (95%+). Although decreases in multidrug-resistant organisms, central line-associated bloodstream infections, and catheter-associated urinary tract infection rates were observed, they represented nonsignificant differences.

Discussion and conclusions:

Human hand hygiene observers may not report accurate measures of compliance. The HHCS is a promising new tool for fine-grained assessment of hand hygiene compliance. Further study is needed to examine the association between the HHCS and HAI rate reduction.

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