Study Proves Accuracy of DebMed® Group Monitoring System™ in Measuring Hand Hygiene Practices of Healthcare Workers

Researchers also state the common practice of only tracking staff cleaning their hands as they go in and out of patient rooms puts patients at risk for infection and the World Health Organization hand hygiene guidelines represent a higher standard of care

Jun 05, 2014, 11:05 ET from DebMed

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- DebMed®, announced today that its methodology used to calculate whether or not healthcare workers are cleaning their hands as frequently as they should has been proven accurate in a research study published in the June 2014 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC).  The researchers at Greenville Health System, Greenville, SC, also state healthcare workers only cleaning their hands as they go in and out of patient rooms, which is a common practice, puts patients at risk and that following the higher standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO) Five Moments for Hand Hygiene decreases the risk.

The latest study validates the data from the HOW2 Benchmark Study published in 2011, which for the first time ever, benchmarked the expected number of times staff should clean their hands, based on hospital type (teaching hospitals vs. non-teaching hospitals) and size, as well as the unit staff work on, such as an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or the Emergency Department (ED).  The benchmarks are also based on the WHO Five Moments for Hand Hygiene guidelines, believed to be a higher clinical standard than simply cleaning hands before and after contact with a patient, as the WHO guidelines require staff to also clean their hands before an aseptic task, such as starting an IV, after exposure to body fluids and after touching the patient surroundings, such as the bed curtain or bed rail.

The DebMed electronic hand hygiene compliance monitoring system uses these benchmarks, along with hospital-specific data such as the number of patients on the unit at any given time as well as the nurse-to-patient staffing ratio, to accurately predict the number of opportunities for staff to clean their hands, which adjusts as conditions on the unit change.  DebMed refers to this as the Diller Rule, named after one of the researchers, Dr. Tom Diller, which states that the number of hand hygiene opportunities can be accurately predicted in any healthcare environment by taking into account the frequency of patient care and the number of patients a nurse is caring for.

The study also states that measuring staff compliance to the standard of only cleaning their hands as they go in and out of patient rooms is not best practice, as it can contribute to the spread of disease or infection-causing germs.  The researchers concluded that "a critical problem with the entry/exit method is that there is significant risk of recontamination of healthcare workers hands while inside the patient room.  The WHO method has been promoted to account for this risk, and we believe that this methodology is preferable".

"This groundbreaking research shows that it is possible to accurately determine how many times clinicians should clean their hands, not just based them going in and out of patient rooms, but based on the standard of care which keeps patients the most safe, which are the guidelines established by the World Health Organization," says Paul Alper, vice president, patient safety strategy at DebMed.  

Healthcare-acquired Infections and Hand Hygiene

The research comes at a critical juncture in hospital infection prevention when increased awareness of the cost - both financially and in terms of patient lives – is at an all-time high. Each day, one in 25 patients has an infection contracted during their hospital stay for a total of 722,000 infections among 648,000 hospital patients in 2011, according to a survey of 183 hospitals in 10 states conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  About 75,000 patients with healthcare-acquired infections died during their hospital stays—typically from highly common infections like pneumonia (22 percent), surgical site infections (22 percent), gastrointestinal infections (17 percent), urinary tract infections (13 percent), and bloodstream infections (10 percent). 

Proper hand hygiene is the number one way to prevent healthcare-associated infections, yet the World Health Organization estimates that compliance with proper hand hygiene guidelines among healthcare workers is less than 40 percent. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) implemented The National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare Associated Infections:  Roadmap to Elimination.

To see an infographic on the importance of hand-washing in hospitals and learn more about DebMed, please visit

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 35 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 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 US operations based in Charlotte, NC, Deb Group is comprised of 21 companies operating in 16 countries.  For more information, visit