Nursing Care

Hand Hygiene

What are we measuring?

Hand hygiene compliance in intensive care units (ICUs) and in general medical and medical-surgical units.

Why is this important?

Hand hygiene is the cleaning of the hands with either soap and water or an alcohol-based agent. It is the single most important way to prevent the spread of infection.

What is our most recent performance and trend?

Hand Hygiene Compliance Chart

*There are no benchmarks for Hand Hygiene. The current internal goal is 90% due to potential inaccuracies in the measurement system.

Note that different hospitals measure hand hygiene performance differently, so that rates may not be directly comparable. BIDMC's hand hygiene performance rate is calculated by observing staffs' usage of soap and water or hand sanitizer before and after patient contact.  While some individual units have achieved or surpassed goal in each period, there are enough outliers that we have not met our overall goal.  Hand hygiene performance continues to show some improvement in all patient care units, most significantly in the intensive care units, but we won't be satisfied until we reach our goal in all units.

What are we doing to improve our performance?
The specific steps we are taking to improve performance include:
  • Making sure that soap and water, as well as alcohol-based hand cleaners are easily accessible.
  • Educational campaigns.
  • Feedback to all units and recognition for high achieving units.

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Other Publicly Reported Measures:

Page last updated: January 2023