Healthcare workers cleaning hands appropriately

Hand hygiene is among the most important steps hospital staff can take to prevent infections in patients. Proper hand hygiene involves cleaning hands when entering and leaving patient rooms. Hands may be cleaned using soap and water or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

About this measure

This measure tracks the percentage of hand-washing opportunities in which staff properly clean their hands based on trained auditors’ observations. There is no nationally standardized methodology or goal for hand hygiene, but the methodology used at NMH is consistent with that published by leading experts.

While nationally published data indicate that hand hygiene rates are poor (less than 50%), the hospital goal is established at 95-100%.

Note: In this measure, a higher number is better.

Most Recent Available Data (Percent)
  2014 Q1
Northwestern Memorial 95
NM Goal 95
Performance Trend (Percent)
  2012 Q2 2012 Q3 2012 Q4 2013 Q1 2013 Q2 2013 Q3 2013 Q4 2014 Q1
Northwestern Memorial 97 98 98 95 97 97 93 95
NM Goal 95 95 95 95 95 95 95 95
Source:Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Observations of hand hygiene compliance, high-risk units only