Physician report cards and rankings yield long-lasting hand hygiene compliance exceeding 90 %
Hand hygiene is an effective, low-cost intervention that prevents the spread of multidrug-resistant bacteria. Despite mandatory education and reminders, compliance by physicians in our hospital remained stubbornly low. Our objective was to study whether surveillance by our unit coordinator (secretary) paired with regular feedback to chiefs of service would increase physician hand hygiene compliance in the ICU.
The ICU unit coordinator was trained to observe and measure hand hygiene compliance. Data were collected on hand hygiene compliance at room entry and exit for 9 months. Percentage compliance for each medical and surgical subspecialty was reported to chiefs of service at the end of each month. Comparative rankings by service were widely distributed throughout the physician organization and the medical center.
The hand hygiene compliance rate among physicians increased from 65.1 % to 91.6 % during the study period (p <0.0001). More importantly in the succeeding 24 months after study completion, physician hand hygiene compliance remained >90 % in every month.
Physician hand hygiene compliance increased as a consequence of the surveillance conducted by a full-time ICU team member, leading to a highly significant increase in the number of observations. In turn, this allowed for specific comparative monthly feedback to individual chiefs of service. Over the next 2 years after the study ended, these gains were sustained, suggesting an enduring culture change in physician behavior.
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