Cost of delivery of healthcare is constantly increasing due to increasing manpower costs, technology up gradations, property costs and more. This, in addition to, increasing dis-allowances by payers, cost sensitive market, increasing competition, and cost of litigation is shrinking the profitability of healthcare delivery institutions.

At such times it becomes imperative to deliver Quality healthcare using cost effective measures that will enable us to improve outcomes without excessive investments. One key measure that can directly impact clinical outcomes without burdening the available financial resources is Hand Hygiene.

Hand hygiene is a great way to prevent infections. Insufficient or inaccurate hand hygiene practices contributes to the spread of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) that affect 1 in 25 hospital patients on any given day. Healthcare providers might need to clean their hands as many as 100 times per 12-hour shift, depending on the number of patients and intensity of care. If at every of these instances the healthcare provider uses the right materials for the hand wash and follows all the defined steps of hand hygiene, it will result in fewer HAIs and subsequently improved ALOS. This impact on ALOS is beneficial for organizations with high occupancy who are able to increase profitability with quicker bed turnarounds.

While it is not difficult to establish the cost effectiveness of good Hand hygiene practices, it is one of the most complex ones to implement effectively. There are a lot of factors that hinder 100% implementation of Hand Hygiene practices, cultural and social conditioning also playing predominant roles. As a country our hand hygiene practices are found wanting. Our staff come in with years of conditioning with poor hand hygiene practices. Changing years of conditioning is not an easy task, but not impossible either. Repeated trainings and sensitizing employees can go a long way in improving hand hygiene practices. These can be further complemented with comprehensive surveillance systems.

Training & surveillance will together improve compliance to hand hygiene, which will help us keep our patients healthier in the hospital, and at the same time be beneficial to the organization.

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