Hand Washing System Dramatically Improves Hygiene in Hospitals

A new hand-hygiene compliance system from the company Hill-Rom has reported an analysis of more than 20 million instances of hand washing dramatically increased the hand washing among hospital staff using the system. Hospitals using Hill-Rom's Hand Hygiene Compliance Solution achieved an average 226% improvement in compliance, with some hospitals showing compliance by caregivers nearly tripled. 


The new data was presented this week from Hill-Rom, especially with infection control professionals from around the world at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) meeting in Nashville, Tenn., which is one of the largest conferences on infection control. 

The Hill-Rom Hand Hygiene Compliance Solution uses badge-based locating technology to provide automatic, continuous monitoring and recording of every time a staff member uses a hand-hygiene station.

Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are a serious threat as we've talked about a lot, especially earlier this year when the Superbug outbreak happened in California. 

The recent outbreak at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has left 2 people dead and may have infected over 170 other patients. What is the 'superbug?' It's a drug-resistant bacteria that can spread quickly throughout a medical facility. 

We've been talking about them more and more and will continue to see an increase. The antibiotics we have are not strong enough and we haven't done enough research and development in better methods for prevention in spreading them. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately one in every 15 hospital patients has at least one health care-acquired infection.2  In the United States alone, the cost of HAIs is estimated at between $25 and $45 billion3 and each year 75,000 will die with an HAI.4

Experts in nearly every major public health organization agree that ineffective "hand hygiene" (hand washing or using disinfecting sprays, wipes or gels) is one of the most significant contributors to the problem, yet compliance rates among caregivers are difficult to track and are regularly found to be less than half of what is recommended.5 The most effective strategy to improve hand-hygiene compliance includes monitoring hand-hygiene behaviors and implementing performance-based interventions.6

The Hill-Rom Hand Hygiene Compliance Solution is in use at innovative academic medical centers and community hospitals in the United States and Latin America.  

Hand washing is simple, but also simple to forget in a busy health care environment.  This new data shows that our system is extremely effective at helping hospital teams move the needle on compliance – the first step toward decreasing hospital-acquired infections.