Maryland hospital employees washed hands 90% of the time

Health professionals in Maryland's 44 acute care hospitals washed their hands about 90 percent of the time over the past six months, according to data from the Maryland Patient Safety Center (MPSC), the Washington Business Journal reported.

The data is good news for Maryland hospitals, which pledged to reduce hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) by 30 percent over the next five years in an agreement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to keep a waiver allowing the Old Line State to set its own hospital rates, according to the article.

The MPSC is leading the initiative, in collaboration with the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council and the Maryland Hospital Association, one of several movements meant to strengthen hospital safety, according to the article.

"Studies have shown that exercising proper hand hygiene, while a seemingly simple action, is challenging to achieve consistently," MPSC President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Imhoff told the Journal. "Further, insufficient hand hygiene is one of the biggest contributors to contracting infections, making this a critical achievement."

A March report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that although HAI rates decreased, about one in 25 hospital patients acquired an infection during their stay in 2011, most commonly pneumonia and surgical site infections, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

"Although there has been some progress, today and every day, more than 200 Americans with healthcare-associated infections will die during their hospital stay," CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., said in response to the CDC data. "The most advanced medical care won't work if clinicians don't prevent infections through basic things, such as regular hand hygiene. Healthcare workers want the best for their patients; following standard infection control practices every time will help ensure their patients' safety."

To learn more:
- read the Washington Business Journal article