Research for infection protection
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  • Aspergillus niger
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  • Candida albicans
  • Candida albicans
  • Coronavirus
  • Corynebacterium
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Author: Allegranzi B et al. Source: Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012 Jun;33(6):621-3.


Allegranzi B et al.

Nationwide Benchmarking of Hand Hygiene Performance

As hand hygiene promotion is key to patient safety and a cornerstone of effective infection control efforts in health care, the authors commenting on the study of Behnke et al. emphasise the importance of hand hygiene campaigns and their evaluation by performance monitoring and infrastructure indicators.

In this context, Allegranzi et al. appreciate the German alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) consumption data collection system described by Behnke et al., especially when considering the broad national scope. The dramatic increase in ABHR consumption from 2007 to 2010 by 35.9 %, as outlined by Behnke et al., strongly supports the effectiveness of multimodal hand hygiene promotion strategies. However, in the authors’ opinion it remains challenging to establish whether this increase reflects actual hand hygiene compliance improvement. According to Allegranzi et al., ABHR consumption as surrogate parameter for hand hygiene compliance has several limitations: there is need for accurate validation of consumption data entered and consumption does not allow estimates of hand hygiene performance with regard to actual opportunities and is vulnerable to the influence of unnecessary hand hygiene actions by healthcare workers, use for other purposes (e.g. surface disinfection), and use by patients and visitors.

The authors regard the establishment of the German surveillance system for ABHR consumption as a major achievement. However, they follow the WHO’s recommendation and consider direct observation the best approach to assessing hand hygiene practices and think that repeated, regular direct monitoring is feasible, even at national level. Furthermore, Allegranzi et al. recommend validating evolving innovative systems for automatic monitoring, which involve little human resources and expertise investment, against the gold standard of direct observation.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2012 Jun;33(6):621-3.

The original article can be purchased here.