Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Increases Hand Hygiene Compliance by 40% in Four Months With DebMed® GMS™

CVPH Leadership Prioritizes Hand Hygiene Compliance Monitoring as Frontline Staff Transform Infection Prevention Culture

Nov 17, 2015, 09:15 ET from DebMed

CHARLOTTE, N.C. and PLATTSBURGH, N.Y., Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Vermont Health Network - Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) in Plattsburgh, NY, has accomplished its yearlong goal of increasing hand hygiene compliance by 40% in just four months since implementing the award-winning DebMed® GMS™ (Group Monitoring System) in acute care units as part of its infection prevention program. As the electronic hand hygiene compliance monitoring system – built on a group-based methodology– has provided accurate, immediate feedback to each unit, the culture of compliance has quickly transformed to one of team accountability and support.

The executive leadership and frontline staff at CVPH supported the introduction of the DebMed hand hygiene compliance monitoring technology as an essential part of the hospital's effort to prevent hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Motivated by the goal to reach zero HAIs in medical-surgical care units and provide superior quality patient care, CVPH infection prevention leaders sought accurate reporting on hand hygiene compliance rates to inform staff champions and initiate a meaningful peer discussion about hand hygiene.

"Hand hygiene is a foundational element of the infection prevention program at CVPH, and it is vital to monitor compliance on a real-time basis to increase awareness of hand hygiene within our interdisciplinary community," said Carrie L. Howard-Canning, Associate Vice President of Patient Care Operations at CVPH. "The 24/7, real-time monitoring with true data from the DebMed GMS allows for discussion and coaching towards excellence as our patients, staff and community depend upon us for providing high-quality care. All of our leaders understand and support this philosophy."

The DebMed GMS is the only electronic monitoring system to provide feedback to hospitals on hand hygiene compliance rates based on the World Health Organization (WHO) Five Moments for Hand Hygiene guidelines. Based on a scientifically validated methodology, the DebMed GMS has also been proven to report compliance rates that were statistically the same as those documented through 24/7 video surveillance, a much more accurate and reliable data than could be obtained by direct observation.

"We realized that we could not obtain a full hand hygiene compliance picture when we had staff or volunteers observing because it is not possible for them to capture every hand hygiene moment," said Erica Wood, Infection Prevention and Control Manager, CVPH. "What we needed was a technology that would give us accurate data in real time to benchmark our performance, set goals, track our progress, and educate our staff. DebMed GMS answered all the criteria."

CVPH first installed the DebMed GMS as part of a trial to assess its effectiveness and acceptance by the staff, following with the full implementation on seven units. In addition to accomplishing the compliance rate increase goal from the December 2014 baseline by 40% in just four months, other early achievements include:

  • As part of the DebMed GMS implementation, the hospital introduced the WHO Five Moments for Hand Hygiene training and education program for employees to help them identify each hand hygiene opportunity under these guidelines.
  • The culture has changed to where most staff feel comfortable asking each other to perform hand hygiene if it is noticed that an event was not performed when it should have been.

"Once the staff were educated on the WHO Five Moments for Hand Hygiene method and gave these moments a try, they were delighted to see their compliance numbers go up," said Samantha Bretthauer, RN, CVPH, who was instrumental in introducing the technology to senior leaders and peers. "Staff rely on the information for hand hygiene and have begun holding each other accountable."

Unlike many other monitoring systems that focus on tracking individual compliance, the DebMed GMS emphasizes improvement of hand hygiene performance as a unit, transforming the compliance culture. According to Wood and Howard-Canning, it is the team-based involvement and championship of the staff that accounted for the compliance gains that CVPH has accomplished. The CVPH leadership and staff are currently setting new hand hygiene compliance goals to maintain and enhance the improvement achieved to date.

"CVPH is a great example of what results can be achieved when an entire organization has a sharp focus on patient safety and makes a commitment to increasing hand hygiene compliance," said Didier Bouton, president, DebMed. "The success of the DebMed GMS can go beyond leveraging data to improve hand hygiene compliance to enhancing teamwork and communication among employees on all levels as they collaborate to achieve excellence in patient care."

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About DebMed®
DebMed is the healthcare program of the Deb Group. The DebMed program offers innovative hand hygiene products, electronic monitoring technology, and improvement tools to support hand hygiene compliance. The DebMed® GMS™ (Group Monitoring System), winner of the 2013 Frost & Sullivan Hand Hygiene Solutions New Product Innovation Award, is the world's first group monitoring system to report hand hygiene compliance rates based on the World Health Organization's (WHO) "Five Moments for Hand Hygiene" and to date has recorded more than 80 million hand hygiene events. The system is being utilized in a four year, multi-site research project being conducted by the Columbia University School of Nursing and funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). For more information, visit

About Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
The University of Vermont Health Network - Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital is a private, not-for profit hospital and a subsidiary of Community Providers Inc., (CPI). Established in 1967 with the merger of Champlain Valley and Physicians hospitals, CVPH joined Fletcher Allen Partners in 2012, which in 2014, became The University of Vermont Health Network. Together with its partners, the University of Vermont Medical Center, Central Vermont Medical Center and Elizabethtown Community Hospital, CVPH provides high quality, cost effective care, close to home. Services include an award winning cardiac services program, accredited cancer center, freestanding ambulatory surgery center, comprehensive rehabilitation services and a 24 hour physician-staffed Emergency Care Center. Governed by a 15-member Board of Directors, CVPH is accredited by the Joint Commission and licensed by New York State and Medicare/Medicaid approved. Learn more at or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.