Hand hygiene is the removal of visible soil or killing of microorganisms from the hands, and may be accomplished using soap and running water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Bacteria that can cause infection can move from patient to patient on the hands of healthcare workers.
Hospital-acquired (or hospital-associated) infections (HAIs) are infections that patients can get while admitted to the hospital for treatment. They are a major, yet often preventable, threat to patient safety. The single most common transmission of HAIs in a healthcare setting is via transiently colonized hands of healthcare workers who acquire it from contact with colonized or infected patients, or after handling contaminated material or equipment.
This indicator shows the rate that hand hygiene was performed before and after contact with the patient or the patient environment.
Measuring, monitoring, and reporting hand hygiene compliance is one part of a comprehensive Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) program. The information gathered can assist hospitals with evaluating the effectiveness of their IPAC interventions and make further improvements based on this information.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care introduced public reporting as part of a comprehensive plan to improve transparency and accountability related to hospital care. Hand hygiene compliance data is entered yearly into into the MOHLTC Self Reporting Initiative website, and cases are reported to the public on a yearly basis, in April.