Hand Hygiene Compliance in Healthcare Industry

On May 5, World Hand Hygiene Day, explore the discrepancy between the percentage of healthcare workers who know their facility’s hand hygiene policy and those who adhere to it all the time.

Long before anyone, particularly those in the healthcare industry, first heard the term “COVID-19,” people heard the statistic that the median hand hygiene compliance rate among healthcare workers is 40%. This statistic is from an often-cited 2015 Cambridge University Press article. With the heightened focus on hygiene brought about by COVID-19, GP PRO wondered if there had been any significant change in hand hygiene compliance. Had the pandemic and its spotlight on hygiene impacted a positive and sustained improvement?

GP PRO Hand Hygiene Day 2022In November 2021, GP PRO conducted proprietary research with healthcare clinicians and asked two timely questions: “Are you aware of your facility’s hand hygiene policy?” and “Do you follow this policy appropriately at all times?” While the findings show that 82% of healthcare workers are very aware of their facility’s hand hygiene policy, only 39% follow it at all times.

Clinicians know what’s expected of them when it comes to hand hygiene, and that’s likely in large part due to consistent communications by infection preventionists throughout the pandemic. So why is compliance holding steady at around 40%? What’s preventing clinicians from following best practices, and what can be done about it?

Additional findings from GP PRO’s research show:

  • 80% of clinicians know their facility’s method for monitoring hand hygiene compliance.
  • Of that 80%, 51% state direct observation is the primary monitoring method employed; other methods identified include self-reporting (15%), product usage (13%), patient satisfaction surveys (11%), and an electronic monitoring system (9%).
  • Just 12% of clinicians believe in the accuracy of their facility’s monitoring method.
  • 98% of healthcare workers believe their facility’s process for collecting hand hygiene compliance data needs to be improved.
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