Hospitals, Health Systems, and Universities Make the Link between Hand Hygiene Compliance and Decreased Infections

Issue brief published by DebMed offers insight on reducing healthcare-associated infections

Feb 28, 2013, 11:27 ET from DebMed

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new issue brief published today by DebMed®, the creator of the world's first and only electronic hand hygiene compliance monitoring system based on the World Health Organization's (WHO) "Five Moments for Hand Hygiene," provides a deeper look at the correlation between hand hygiene compliance and increased quality of care and decreased levels of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).         

Commenting on the issues stemming from a lack of standardized monitoring of hand hygiene in healthcare today, Heather McLarney, Vice President of Marketing, DebMed, explained, "Hand hygiene compliance and the resulting decrease in HAIs can be correlated directly to reduction of operating costs and maximized reimbursements for hospitals. According to a Duke University study*, a 1% increase in compliance for a 200 bed hospital could save more than $39,000 annually in costs related to HAIs. In order to preserve the safety of patients and staff and ensure a healthy impact to the bottom line, hospital officials should implement system-wide hand hygiene compliance programs."

Examples of hand hygiene-compliance studies examined in the issue brief include:

  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a 464-bed comprehensive cancer center in New York City, overhauled its approach to hand hygiene by creating small teams that set goals and tracked hand hygiene compliance rates based on  the World Health Organization's (WHO's) hand hygiene guidelines. Hand hygiene compliance reached 97 percent and has remained at that level since the conclusion of the study.
  • At Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., a three-phase study was conducted in the hospital's 14-bed intermediate care unit concluded that electronic monitoring provided effective ongoing feedback about hand hygiene compliance. Hand hygiene compliance and nosocomial infection rates improved, suggesting that ongoing monitoring and feedback had both a short-term and, perhaps, a longer-term effect.
  • In a tertiary care hospital in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a program consisting of focused education and frequent performance feedback over two years led to a sustained increase in hand hygiene compliance from 23.1% to 64.5% and a concurrent decrease in overall nosocomial infection rate from 47.55 per 1000 patient days to 27.93 per 1000 patient days.

The issue brief is available by contacting DebMed at

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) is the world's first group monitoring system to report hand hygiene compliance rates in real-time based on the World Health Organization's (WHO) "Five Moments for Hand Hygiene" and to date has recorded more than 16 million hand hygiene events.  The electronic monitoring 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). It is the first study aimed at reducing healthcare-associated infections in pediatric long-term care facilities by improving staff compliance with hand hygiene guidelines. Deb is the first hand hygiene company in the world to provide actionable information along with its hand hygiene products to help drive best practices and improved outcomes for patients worldwide. For more information on the study or DebMed, visit

About Deb Group
Possessing international scale and strong local market presence, Deb Group provides innovative skin care programs for all types of workplace and public environments, spanning industrial, commercial, healthcare and food sectors. Headquartered in the United Kingdom with U.S. operations based in Charlotte, NC, Deb Group is comprised of 21 companies operating in 16 countries. For more information, visit

*Cummings KL, Anderson DJ, Kaye KS. Hand hygiene noncompliance and the cost of hospital-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol (2010)