Reduction of Healthcare-Associated Infections by Exceeding High Compliance with Hand Hygiene Practices

Emily E. Sickbert-Bennett; Lauren M. DiBiase; Tina M. Schade Willis; Eric S. Wolak; David J. Weber; William A. Rutala


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2016;22(9):1628-1630. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Improving hand hygiene from high to very high compliance has not been documented to decrease healthcare-associated infections. We conducted longitudinal analyses during 2013–2015 in an 853-bed hospital and observed a significantly increased hand hygiene compliance rate (p<0.001) and a significantly decreased healthcare-associated infection rate (p = 0.0066).


The association between hand hygiene and infection prevention has long been known (if not always fully accepted) since the time of Semmelweis.[1] The challenge in healthcare settings is to achieve and sustain high compliance among many disciplines of personnel who interact with patients and their environment. We investigated whether an improvement in hand hygiene compliance from a baseline high level (>80%) to an even higher level (>95%) could lead to decreases in healthcare-associated infections (HAI).