I’ve been on the patient safety kick for the last year or so – speaking at conferences and writing articles whenever I get the opportunity (or free time). This month (January ’09) the folks at Healthcare Marketing Advisor published an article that features two successful hand hygiene campaigns. The article, written by Kandace Doyle, is titled “Campaigns that Aren’t Washed Up.” One of the campaigns highlighted is the patient safety program my firm produced for Tufts Medical Center. It’s great to see the campaign get the attention it deserves, given its impact on hand hygiene compliance at Tufts.
Talk About Results!
In January 2008, Tufts Medical Center was facing the reality of a hand hygiene compliance rate of 71%. The obvious risks to patient safety, along with an impending visit by the Joint Commission, led Tufts to launch a comprehensive hand hygiene program in March 2008. This was not the first time that Tufts Medical Center had traveled this path, there had been previous handwashing campaigns, but this time it was with a new level of commitment and creativity. And the effort paid off. By the end of the campaign’s first month within the medical center, Tufts’ compliance had increased to 90%. By August 2008, the compliance rate had improved to 99% with 7 units scoring a perfect 100%. During the Joint Commission’s intensive 5-day visit to Tufts in September, they did not find a single hand hygiene violation.
Why is this important? Well, by most accounts, approximately more than 1.7 million patients will develop a hospital-acquired infection this year. An estimated 90,000 patients will die of infection they acquire while hospitalized. Beyond the cost in human life, the average patient infection costs the hospital somewhere between $25,000 and $100,000 (estimates vary greatly). In the November/December 2006 issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality, it was estimated that the elimination of a single bloodstream infection case would pay for nearly a year’s worth of measures to stop infections within a hospital.
Brooke Tyson Hynes (Tufts Medical Center) and I also contributed an article this month to a publication of the New England Society for Healthcare Communications (NESHCo). The piece is titled, “Best Practices in Hand Hygiene Compliance.” Based on our experience with the Tufts campaign, we were able to compile a list of many of the best practices in the industry related to successfully executing a patient safety or hand hygiene campaign.
Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer
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