Hand Washing

Patients can acquire infections in the hospital as inpatients or even while receiving care as outpatients. These infections, called healthcare-associated infections, can be caused by the spread of bacteria on the hands of physicians, nurses and other staff. Studies show that proper hand hygiene can reduce the occurrence of these infections. Therefore, it is important for health care personnel to prevent the spread of bacteria by washing their hands.

The University of Michigan Health System's hand hygiene policy states that hand washing using the proper agent (soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub) shall be performed by staff prior to performing an exam.

A sample of patients are contacted after their hospital visit and asked to provide feedback on aspects of patient care. Our goal is to exceed the National Hospital 50th percentile.

Staff Washed Their Hands Before Exam
Higher Value = Better Performance

Details

Why is This Measure Important?

This measure represents UMHS overall rate of adherence to our hand hygiene policy of hospital staff. Adherence to the policy is important to reducing infections that patients can acquire in the hospital as inpatients or even while receiving care as outpatients. The measure is based on a survey of patients and the average rating given to the item "extent to which staff washed their hands before examining you."

How is UMHS Performing?

The overall rate of adherence to our hand hygiene policy has been about 90%. We are at or just below the national 50th percentile. We continue to work on improving our hand washing to exceed the national rate.

UMHS Source: findings from monthly observations of hand hygiene practices.
Comparison Group Source: National Hospitals 50th percentile