The University of Vermont Health Network - Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) in Plattsburgh, N.Y. has accomplished its yearlong goal of increasing hand hygiene compliance by 40 percent in just four months since implementing the award-winning DebMed® GMS™ (Group Monitoring System) in acute care units as part of its infection prevention program. As the electronic hand hygiene compliance monitoring system – built on a group-based methodology– has provided accurate, immediate feedback to each unit, the culture of compliance has quickly transformed to one of team accountability and support.
The executive leadership and frontline staff at CVPH supported the introduction of the DebMed hand hygiene compliance monitoring technology as an essential part of the hospital's effort to prevent healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). Motivated by the goal to reach zero HAIs in medical-surgical care units and provide superior quality patient care, CVPH infection prevention leaders sought accurate reporting on hand hygiene compliance rates to inform staff champions and initiate a meaningful peer discussion about hand hygiene.
"Hand hygiene is a foundational element of the infection prevention program at CVPH, and it is vital to monitor compliance on a real-time basis to increase awareness of hand hygiene within our interdisciplinary community," says Carrie L. Howard-Canning, associate vice president of patient care operations at CVPH. "The 24/7, real-time monitoring with true data from the DebMed GMS allows for discussion and coaching towards excellence as our patients, staff and community depend upon us for providing high-quality care. All of our leaders understand and support this philosophy."
The DebMed GMS system provides feedback to hospitals on hand hygiene compliance rates based on the World Health Organization (WHO) Five Moments for Hand Hygiene guidelines. Based on a scientifically validated methodology, the DebMed GMS has also been proven to report compliance rates that were statistically the same as those documented through 24/7 video surveillance, a much more accurate and reliable data than could be obtained by direct observation.
"We realized that we could not obtain a full hand hygiene compliance picture when we had staff or volunteers observing because it is not possible for them to capture every hand hygiene moment," says Erica Wood, infection prevention and control manager at CVPH. "What we needed was a technology that would give us accurate data in real time to benchmark our performance, set goals, track our progress, and educate our staff. DebMed GMS answered all the criteria."
CVPH first installed the DebMed GMS as part of a trial to assess its effectiveness and acceptance by the staff, following with the full implementation on seven units. In addition to accomplishing the compliance rate increase goal from the December 2014 baseline by 40% in just four months, other early achievements include:
- As part of the DebMed GMS implementation, the hospital introduced the WHO Five Moments for Hand Hygiene training and education program for employees to help them identify each hand hygiene opportunity under these guidelines.
- The culture has changed to where most staff feel comfortable asking each other to perform hand hygiene if it is noticed that an event was not performed when it should have been.
"Once the staff were educated on the WHO Five Moments for Hand Hygiene method and gave these moments a try, they were delighted to see their compliance numbers go up," says Samantha Bretthauer, RN, of CVPH, who was instrumental in introducing the technology to senior leaders and peers. "Staff rely on the information for hand hygiene and have begun holding each other accountable."
Unlike many other monitoring systems that focus on tracking individual compliance, the DebMed GMS emphasizes improvement of hand hygiene performance as a unit, transforming the compliance culture. According to Wood and Howard-Canning, it is the team-based involvement and championship of the staff that accounted for the compliance gains that CVPH has accomplished. The CVPH leadership and staff are currently setting new hand hygiene compliance goals to maintain and enhance the improvement achieved to date.
"CVPH is a great example of what results can be achieved when an entire organization has a sharp focus on patient safety and makes a commitment to increasing hand hygiene compliance," says Didier Bouton, president of DebMed. "The success of the DebMed GMS can go beyond leveraging data to improve hand hygiene compliance to enhancing teamwork and communication among employees on all levels as they collaborate to achieve excellence in patient care."