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Bay Medical Fights Healthcare-Associated Infections by Improving Hand Hygiene 300%
Date:9/16/2009

PANAMA CITY, Fla., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- In a presumably sterile environment such as a hospital, diligence of staff washing their hands when moving from patient to patient can easily be taken for granted. Yet, according to The Joint Commission, handwashing failures contribute to healthcare-associated infections that kill nearly 100,000 Americans each year and cost U.S. hospitals $4 billion to $29 billion annually to combat. At Bay Medical Center in Panama City, Florida, Compirion Healthcare Solutions, a healthcare consulting firm that was engaged to help improve ED Throughput, Finance and Core Measures compliance, found only 30% of the staff regularly washed their hands between visits with patients.

Handwashing originally fell under the auspices of Infection Control. Instead, Compirion's initial observations were brought before the Steering Team.

"Out of concern for patient safety, the Steering Team took ownership of handwashing protocols to a very personal level," said Chief Nursing Officer Lynette Svingen. "CEO acknowledgment of the issue certainly got the ball rolling."

Of three consulting companies that had been brought in, Compirion was the first that made changes with real impact. The hospital had had a lot of great ideas but struggled with implementation. Data was collected and reported, but no one took ownership of the idea, no one followed through, and no one was held accountable. To remedy that, the Compirion project leader put together an accountability spreadsheet that named names and then posted it for all to see. That single small act prompted the turning point in the project.

The Steering Team, working closely with Compirion consultants, assigned two phases to the handwashing initiative, Mentoring and Observation. The Mentoring phase involved rounding by select managers, directors
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SOURCE Compirion Healthcare Solutions, LLC
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