The pilot study – how a hospital improved hand hygiene by 134%

Hospitals that monitor their hand hygiene use direct observations. But as we stipulated in our post about the resemblance between “Fools gold” and the gold standard of hand hygiene monitoring, direct observation is not considered a credible source of information anymore. It is not uncommon for hospitals to report compliance scores above 90% for several years in a row.


A hospital with that exact rate chose to install the Sani Nudge system as the hygiene department had also realized that the number was not the actual truth. They decided to quietly implement our electronic hand hygiene monitoring solution in a ortopedics ward to see what their actual hand hygiene compliance rate was. They were aware that the actual truth was impossible to achieve as simply installing our solution would still involve some hawthorne effect. After 10 weeks of quietly observing the ward the results were ready. The overall score across the ward was 32% during the baseline period. With almost one third of their direct observations the hospital was shocked.

Since the system is able to look into three of the WHO’s five moments of hand hygiene the baseline also revealed other interesting results.  The tailored sanitizing protocols for each room type, (such as patient bedrooms that require staff to sanitize both before and after patient contact, including when touching the patient’s surroundings such as the bed or equipment), showed many staff members were not completing the full procedure bringing the overall compliance for bedrooms to 27%. Our system even revealed that out of the 27% the healthcare workers were much more compliant after patient contact than before.

After the surprising results the hygiene preventionists prepared them self for a fight to improve the scores. Within the first week after the baseline results, the hospital was already seeing an improvement in their overall hand hygiene compliance which continued in an upward trend over the months. Within a few weeks of working with the data our solution provides, the hospital had increased their overall hand hygiene by 63% across the ward and an 89% increase in hand hygiene seen in patient bedrooms. Impressive!

The rest of the department followed suit by proving to be extremely successful from the start. Staff toilets were originally an area that the Sani Nudge system picked up on as a critical area. During the initial baseline period, these had an average compliance of 32% in the department. However, with the help of the Sani Nudge system, this compliance score increased by 134%.

What to hear how you can benefit from installing a real time hand hygiene monitoring system in your hospital? How it can improve your patient satisfaction scores and how it will make your hospital save money? Then book a meeting here. 

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