Hand-hygiene compliance industry group founded


Eight US-based hand-hygiene compliance solution providers have formed an alliance to raise awareness of the patient safety risks and the economic burden of outdated hand hygiene compliance measurement.

The Electronic Hand-hygiene Compliance Organization (EHCO) aims to lead and influence changes in hand-hygiene measurement policy and guidelines at accreditation organizations, government agencies, health insurers, and hospitals. Specifically, it seeks to promote electronic measurement of hand hygiene.

Until recently, the only way to measure how well healthcare workers performed hand hygiene was manual direct observation. With direct observation, individuals know they are being observed and adjust their behavior, a phenomenon known as the Hawthorne Effect, inflating a hospital's true compliance rate.

A hospital may think its hand hygiene compliance rate is 90 percent, but direct observation only accounts for 1.2 percent to 3.5 percent of all hand-hygiene events, leaving more than 96 percent of hand hygiene events undocumented and compliance rates highly overstated.

Only within the past few years has evidence-based electronic measurement of hand hygiene become widely available to accurately and continuously measure hand hygiene compliance in real-time and enable meaningful feedback to healthcare workers.

While capturing 100 percent of hand hygiene behavior electronically gives hospital leaders in quality, patient safety, and infection control visibility to accurate and reliable rates, no policy guidelines or mandates exist. 

EHCO member companies believe that it is their responsibility to lead the change in the acceptable standard of care to improve public health and patient safety.

Connie Steed, director of infection prevention at the Greenville Health System in Greenville, South Carolina, has been working with one electronic hand hygiene company for the past six years to help them develop and perfect their system.

“We are excited to have electronic hand hygiene compliance measurement throughout our seven hospitals,” said Steed. “We now have a better understanding of the compliance rate for all of our hand hygiene behavior 24/7.

"We have seen consistent double digit increases in hand hygiene compliance and reductions in healthcare-associated infections. These benefits have come with cost savings that can justify the cost of the system.”

The companies engaged in EHCO include Airista, BioVigil, CenTrak, Clean Hands-Safe Hands, DebMed, Hill-Rom, SwipeSense, and Versus Technology.

“We have come together with a common goal, to lead the change in how hospitals measure this key performance indicator of patient safety and quality,” said Paul Alper, chairman of EHCO and vice president of patient safety strategy, DebMed.

EHCO, Hand Hygiene, US, Risk Management, Compliance, Connie Steed, Paul Alper