Hospital System Achieves Improvement in HH Compliance Using New Technology from DebMed

DebMed, creator of an electronic hand hygiene compliance monitoring system based on the World Health Organization (WHO)'s Five Moments, announce that Greenville Hospital System in Greenville, S.C., has increased hand hygiene compliance by 5 percent to 12 percent in less than one month using the DebMed GMS electronic monitoring system and supporting improvement tools.

"We believe the DebMed GMS is a major breakthrough in improving hand hygiene compliance because it not only provides real-time data based on the WHO's Five Moments for Hand Hygiene standard, but also includes tools to help facilitate behavior change at the unit level," says Connie Steed, MSN, RN, CIC, director of infection prevention at Greenville Hospital System. "We've very quickly experienced a statistically-significant increase in our hand hygiene compliance rates, which is remarkable for any technology."

Greenville Hospital System is utilizing the DebMed GMS (Group Monitoring System) for automated real-time monitoring and reporting of hand hygiene compliance by 3,500 soap and hand sanitizer dispensers across five hospital sites, a scale never seen before. The system has captured and reported on eight million hand hygiene events so far.

Prior to implementing the DebMed GMS, Greenville was monitoring hand hygiene compliance solely through manually observing hand hygiene compliance behavior known as direct observation. Though still a widely used method across healthcare, Greenville staff acknowledge that direct observation, because of its human-based nature, can be unreliable, less timely than electronic systems, and it typically captures less than one percent of hand hygiene opportunities. By utilizing electronic monitoring via the DebMed GMS, Greenville is now able to monitor 100 percent of opportunities.

"Electronic monitoring is a critical element of our overall hand hygiene compliance program. The DebMed GMS was the only system of its kind that we felt fully met our needs. It is working so well that it's difficult to imagine monitoring without it," says Thomas W. Diller, MD, vice president of quality and patient safety at Greenville Hospital System.

The DebMed GMS monitors hand hygiene compliance at the hospital unit level and encourages collaboration among staff to improve compliance; this method is recognized by infection preventionists as being more effective than other monitoring systems that track individuals' actions and can be seen by staff as punitive or as an invasion of privacy. The DebMed GMS also goes beyond electronic monitoring to provide supporting tools such as staff meeting facilitation guides and visual reminders to help enable behavior change.

"We believe that increasing hand hygiene compliance is directly related to decreasing infections and therefore improving patient safety," says Diller. "By providing staff with real-time feedback and tools, they are empowered to identify and remove obstacles to increasing hand hygiene compliance."

Healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) are responsible for 99,000 deaths per year and result in $35.7 to $45 billion annually in healthcare costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A study conducted at Duke University Medical Center and published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology showed that minimal improvements in compliance lead to substantial savings, concluding that a one percent increase in hand hygiene compliance would result in annual savings of $39,650 to a 200-bed hospital.

"The impressive early outcomes from Greenville Hospital System reinforces DebMed's belief that electronic monitoring is a better way to monitor hand hygiene compliance over direct observation, which is an antiquated method and produces unreliable data," says Didier Bouton, president of DebMed. "The DebMed GMS will help hospitals lead the change to real-time electronic hand hygiene monitoring, and in doing so, transform patient safety."

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