Infection Prevention Experts Say U.S. Healthcare Facilities Struggle With Hand Hygiene Compliance, Offer Guidance for Improvement

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Didier Pittet, MD, director of the infection control program at University of Geneva, Switzerland, and Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president of The Joint Commission, speaking at a hand hygiene forum organized by Loyola University Medical Center and Medline Industries, said U.S. healthcare facilities are performing poorly when it comes to hand hygiene compliance, according to a Medline news release.

Drs. Pittet and Chassin said noncompliance with hand hygiene protocol is mainly due to time constraints, product misconceptions and faulty data.

Dr. Pittet addressed time constraints and product misconception by recommending using alcohol-based hand rubs with at least 80 percent ethanol. He said compared to soap and water, alcohol-based hand rubs are faster, more effective, more convenient and more comfortable after multiple washings, according to the release.

Dr. Chassin addressed faulty data by recommending use of The Joint Commission's Center for Transforming Healthcare's Targeted Solutions Tool, which provides validated solutions for poor hand hygiene in organizations and analyzes data. Organizations which have used the tool have seen hand hygiene compliance increase from an average of 48 percent to 81 percent and sustained that level for 10 months.

Read the Medline news release on hand hygiene.

Read more coverage on infection control:

- Study: CPOE Systems Improve Prophylactic Antibacterial Use in Surgical Patients

- AORN Releases Learning Module to Assess Knowledge of Retained Surgical Items Prevention

- Nevada Bill Requires Public Reporting of Hospital Infections

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