DebMed® announces that its methodology used to calculate whether or not healthcare workers are cleaning their hands as frequently as they should has been proven accurate in a research study published in the June 2014 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC). The researchers at Greenville Health System in Greenville, S.C., also state healthcare workers only cleaning their hands as they go in and out of patient rooms, which is a common practice, puts patients at risk and that following the higher standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO)'s Five Moments for Hand Hygiene decreases the risk.
The latest study validates the data from the HOW2 Benchmark Study published in 2011, which for the first time ever, benchmarked the expected number of times staff should clean their hands, based on hospital type (teaching hospitals vs. non-teaching hospitals) and size, as well as the unit staff work on, such as an intensive care unit (ICU) or the emergency department (ED). The benchmarks are also based on the WHO Five Moments for Hand Hygiene guidelines, believed to be a higher clinical standard than simply cleaning hands before and after contact with a patient, as the WHO guidelines require staff to also clean their hands before an aseptic task, such as starting an IV, after exposure to body fluids and after touching the patient surroundings, such as the bed curtain or bed rail.
The DebMed electronic hand hygiene compliance monitoring system uses these benchmarks, along with hospital-specific data such as the number of patients on the unit at any given time as well as the nurse-to-patient staffing ratio, to accurately predict the number of opportunities for staff to clean their hands, which adjusts as conditions on the unit change. DebMed refers to this as the Diller Rule, named after one of the researchers, Dr. Tom Diller, which states that the number of hand hygiene opportunities can be accurately predicted in any healthcare environment by taking into account the frequency of patient care and the number of patients a nurse is caring for.
The study also states that measuring staff compliance to the standard of only cleaning their hands as they go in and out of patient rooms is not best practice, as it can contribute to the spread of disease or infection-causing germs. The researchers concluded that “a critical problem with the entry/exit method is that there is significant risk of recontamination of healthcare workers hands while inside the patient room. The WHO method has been promoted to account for this risk, and we believe that this methodology is preferable”.
“This groundbreaking research shows that it is possible to accurately determine how many times clinicians should clean their hands, not just based them going in and out of patient rooms, but based on the standard of care which keeps patients the most safe, which are the guidelines established by the World Health Organization,” says Paul Alper, vice president of patient safety strategy at DebMed.