Preventing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) through improved hand hygiene is the healthy and smart thing healthcare facilities managers can do to avoid penalties from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that can lower their facility’s Medicare reimbursements.
From all appearances, improving hand hygiene among healthcare professionals would seem to be one of the simplest ways to eradicate HAIs, yet it remains a huge problem. A 2009 study concluded that hand-hygiene techniques are followed only 50 percent of the time, at best.
To improve hand-washing hygiene faster across the country, the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare and Joint Commission International (JCI) have released their Hand Hygiene Targeted Solutions Tool (TST), a free online tool for JCI member organizations aimed at reducing HAIs and improving patient care.
Based on early pilot testing by JCI-accredited organizations in Europe, the Pacific Coast of Asia and the Middle East, hand hygiene practices improved by 72 percent and clinicians found the tool easy to use.
The tool may also help to prevent up to 140 cases of HAIs and 8 deaths for hospitals with at least 200 beds, amounting to an estimated savings of nearly $3 million every year in direct medical costs, according to the American College of Surgeons.
The advantages of using the TST:
- Making washing hands so automatic and habitual that you do it without thinking, like you would look both ways before crossing the street.
- Creating a sense of accountability and responsibility among diverse groups of professionals, from food service staff, housekeepers, chaplains and technicians to other medical staff.
- Developing role models for best hand hygiene practices.
- Assessing and measuring high-impact problems with hand hygiene in healthcare facilities, then targeting specific solutions.
Watch this video produced by the JCI to learn more about the modules, dashboards and benchmarking tools that come with the TST.
But those aren’t all of the tools the resourceful healthcare facilities manager has at his/her disposal.
To prevent the spread of diseases like the flu and HAIs, Richard Murdock, a regional director for Vanguard Resources, emphasizes “hand-washing and wearing a new pair of gloves before entering a patient room, then washing hands after exiting the patient’s room. We have alcohol-based hand sanitizers on walls at all entrances and outside every patient room too.”
For assistance with implementing the TST and other hand hygiene measures at your facility, contact Vanguard Resources.