Hand Hygiene feature image

Hand Hygiene

OHA’s hand hygiene program focuses on improving rates by assessing hospital staff compliance and providing immediate recommendations on how hospitals can improve by redesigning policies and offering more robust education and training opportunities. From August 2010 through 2016, as part of OHA’s Hospital Engagement Network and regional quality collaboratives, student nurses have made more than 410,000 observations at over 100 Ohio hospitals and nursing facilities that participated the program. 

About the Program

Participating hospitals set a goal of reaching 100 percent compliance. Our project team aims to directly observe all hospital health care workers who enter and exit patient rooms, including physicians, nurses, techs, case managers, nutrition and others. 

The data for these real-time observations is entered electronically onto an iPad application, which was developed by the OHA specifically for this quality-improvement initiative. The data is quickly aggregated for the hospital and allows the hospital to compare its compliance rate with those of other participating hospitals. A unique feature of the application is that individual hospital units or floors receive same-day feedback on staff compliance so effective interventions can quickly be implemented.

Hospital leadership is interviewed prior to the start of ongoing observations, to:

  • Determine the presence of internal hand hygiene observation programs and rates
  • Review existing policies and procedures for alignment with OHA guidelines
  • Provide feedback on baseline rates to leadership, middle management and frontline staff for discussion, education and clinical behavior modification

Participating hospitals collaborate and continuously focus on the issue. Clinical leaders of participating hospitals meet regularly with OHA’s team to review compliance data and share best practices on how to achieve and sustain high compliance rates. Successful interventions include:

  • Additional alcohol hand sanitizer dispensers, located closer to patient rooms
  • Signage for “Wash in/Wash out!” reminders
  • Inter-departmental meetings on expected behaviors
  • Competitions and rewards for best rates/most improved
  • Coaching of associates by chief nursing and medical officers
  • Educational videos or employee plays/skits

National Recognition

OHA's hand hygiene program is nationally recognized for improving health outcomes. In 2016 the American Hospital Asscoation presented OHA with the Dick Davidson Quality Milestone Award Honorable Mention recognition.