HyGreen Examines the Role of Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Associated Infections

Proper hand hygiene is the single most important evidence based practice to help eliminate cross-contamination and reduce the incidence of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs).


Gainesville, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/18/2012 -- To raise awareness about hand hygiene and HAIs, several activities are scheduled internationally during the month of October. October 15th is Global Handwashing Day, promoting handwashing in an effort to prevent infections. October 14 – 20, 2012 is International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW). Founded by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (APIC), IIPW provides a focal point for infection preventionists, healthcare professionals, and consumers on infection prevention and its power to save lives.

Despite the importance of hand washing, numerous articles have been written about the lack of hand hygiene in health care facilities. Below are referenced quick facts on hand hygiene and its importance in infection prevention:

- It is well established that the hands of HCWs are the principal cause of transmission of infection from patient to patient.9

- Hand hygiene, a very simple action, remains the primary means to reduce HAI’s and the spread of antimicrobial resistant organisms.2-5

- Global research indicates that improvements in hand hygiene activities could potentially reduce HAI rates by up to 50%.4,8

- In the U.S., healthcare associated infections (HAI’s) affect more than 2 million people every year resulting in approximately 100,000 deaths.1

- HAI’s lead to long-term disability, preventable deaths, and additional financial burden on the healthcare system.6

- An HAI increases the average length of stay 7.4 to 9.4 days and the risk of morbidity by 35%.9

- Compliance by healthcare workers with optimal hand hygiene is considered to be less than 40%.7

- Several studies of hand washing in high-acuity units with vulnerable patients have found that as few as one in seven staff members wash their hands between patients: compliance rates in the range of 15% - 35% are typical; rates above 40% are the exception.10-11

To shine a light on infection prevention and its power to save lives, HyGreen has developed a video entitled "Healthcare Associated Infection by the Numbers." This video breaks down the impact of infections on the lives of patients and the healthcare system.

To learn more about HyGreen and electronic hand hygiene monitoring, join our upcoming webinar on October 25th by registering at

1) Klevens RM, Edwards JR, Richards CL, Jr., et al. Estimating health care-associated infections and deaths in U.S. hospitals, 2002. Public Health Rep 2007; 122:160-166.

2) Pittet D, Mourouga P, Perneger TV. Compliance with handwashing in a teaching hospital: infection control program. Ann Intern Med. 1999;130(2):126-130.

3) World Health Organisation. WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care. Ge?neva, Switzerland: World Health Organisation; 2009. Accessed July 15, 2009.

4) Pittet D, Hugonnet S, Harbarth S, Mourouga P, Sauvan V, Touveneau S, Perneger TV. Effectiveness of a hospital-wide programme to improve compliance with hand hygiene. Infection Control Programme. Lancet 2000 Oct 14;356(9238):1307-12.

5) Sax H, Allegranzi B, Uçkay I, Larson E, Boyce J, Pittet D. ‘My five moments for hand hygiene’: a user-centred design approach to understand, train, monitor and report hand hygiene. J Hosp Infect. 2007 Sep;67(1):9-21. Epub 2007 Aug 27.

6) Backman, Chantal, RN, BScN, MHA “Patient Safety: It’s in your hands!” PowerPoint presentation, slide 15.

7) Gautham Suresh, M.D., D.M., M.S., Cahill, John, M.D., “National Patient Safety Goals. How ‘User Friendly’ is the Hospital forPracticing Hand Hygiene?: An Ergonomic Evaluation.” The Joint Commision Journal on Quality and Patient Safety 33. 3 (March 2004).

8) Brachman PS, Dan BB, Haley RW, Hooten TM, Farner JS, Allen JR. Nosocomial surgical infections: incidence and cost. Surg Clin North Am 1980;60:15-25.

9) Larson, E. (1988). A causal link between handwashing and risk of infection? Examine the evidence. Infection Control, 9(1), 28-36.

10) Albert. R.K. & Condie, F. (1981). Handwashing patterns in medical intensive-care units. New England Journal of Medicine, 304(24), 1465-1466.

11) Graham, M. (1990). Frequency and duration of handwashing in an intensive care unit. American Journal of Infection Control, 18(2), 77-81.