National Hand Hygiene Initiative Successful in Australia

Bacteria shown on hand under black light
Bacteria shown on hand under black light
Overall hand hygiene compliance increased from 2009 to 2017; associated drop seen in HA-SAB incidence

HealthDay News — The National Hand Hygiene Initiative (NHHI) has successfully sustained improvement in hand hygiene compliance, according to a study recently published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases and presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, held from April 13 to 16 in Amsterdam.

M. Lindsay Grayson, M.B., B.S., M.D., from Austin Health in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues examined the outcomes of the NHHI for eight years after implementation, including hospital participation, hand hygiene compliance, education engagement, cost, and association with health care-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (HA-SAB).

The researchers observed increases in national health care facility participation (105 hospitals in 2009 versus 937 in 2017) and overall hand hygiene compliance (63.6 percent of 56,978 Moments in 2009 versus 84.3 percent of 586,559 Moments in 2017). Increases were also noted in compliance for each Moment type and for each health care worker occupational group, including medical staff. Overall, a total of 1,989,713 NHHI online learning credential programs were completed. Among 132 major public hospitals in Australia, improved hand hygiene compliance correlated with reductions in the incidence of HA-SAB, with a 15 percent reduction in HA-SAB incidence for each 10 percent increase in hand hygiene compliance (incidence rate ratio, 0.85).

“The NHHI might be a template for other national culture-change initiatives in health care,” the authors write.

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