Web site spotlight: Stay in compliance: Wash your hands

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, February 6, 2009

In 2005, Novant Health in Winston-Salem, NC, embarked on a three-year plan to improve the system’s hand hygiene program. The goal was set high, at 90% compliance, which seemed to be a big stretch from Novant’s 49% compliance rate.

The hospital began its goal of achieving 90% compliance by placing alcohol-based hand sanitizers outside patient rooms. The hospital grabbed the attention of staff members to use the dispensers by placing posters throughout the system’s nine facilities. The first poster to begin the campaign was called “You Could Kill Me With Your Bare Hands.” The poster received a lot of attention from staff members and made them realize that their actions can affect their patients’ health.

Novant Health gave staff members’ feedback on where the facility stood in terms of reaching its goal of 90% hand hygiene compliance by using a traffic light display. If the traffic light was red, the compliance rate was less than 90% and not improving. If the traffic light was yellow, the compliance rate was less than 90% but improving, and if the light was green, the compliance rate was above 90%.

After three years, the Novant’s hand hygiene program exceeded its expectations and achieved 99% compliance. 

Editor’s note: This excerpt was adapted fromHand hygiene program achieves 98% compliance” found in the Reading Room at Get a free trial membership that will give you 30 days to test drive all the exciting features on the Web site.


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