Frequent hand hygiene by anesthesia personnel may be an important factor in reducing contamination of IV lines and medication access ports and may reduce hospital-acquired infections. Measurement of hand hygiene frequency at the individual clinician level by direct observation or electronic devices is cumbersome and expensive. We developed and validated a simple method for estimating hand hygiene frequency by individual anesthesia providers and utilized it in a quality improvement initiative to increase hand hygiene use.
Pump-style, alcohol-based hand hygiene container weight at the anesthesia work station was measured before and after each surgical operation and converted to estimated number of accesses (pumps) per hour. Video observation was used to validate the estimated hand hygiene use. A quality improvement initiative utilized periodic measurement of hand hygiene frequency via the validated method, and incorporated individual provider feedback, email reminders, monthly departmental performance reports, and reminders in the electronic anesthesia record. Segmented linear regression was used to evaluate the effect of the intervention on hand hygiene use.
Delivered product per pump was consistent for containers at least half-full and averaged (mean ± SD) 0.92 ± 0.13 g per pump. Video observation in 26 cases showed a strong correlation between observed hand hygiene episodes and estimated hand hygiene use frequency based on weight change of the container (linear regression, R2 = 0.97, P < .0001). Median hand hygiene frequency was near 0 at baseline but increased progressively throughout the intervention period (segmented linear regression, overall R2 = 0.76, P < .0001; change of intercept or mean hand hygiene after initiation of intervention [parameter estimate ± SE] [0.970 ± 0.29], P = .0008).
A low-cost, simple method for measuring individual anesthesia clinician use of hand hygiene intraoperatively based on container weight change is feasible and sufficiently accurate to support a quality improvement initiative to increase its use.