Hand hygiene information available on MyHospitals

Information on hand hygiene in public hospitals has been made available, for the first time, on MyHospitals, a website managed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Hand hygiene in hospitals generally refers to the use of soap and water or a waterless agent, for example, an alcohol-based hand rub, by healthcare workers to clean their hands to help prevent the possible spread of infection.

The website uses an interim national benchmark of 70% to present how often hand hygiene is correctly performed.

Across 233 major public hospitals, about half were above the national benchmark, just over 30% were similar to the benchmark and almost 19% were below the benchmark.

The interim benchmark has been advised by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

The website presents information on hand hygiene with individual major public hospitals compared against the national benchmark.

Also provided for major hospitals is the percentage of correct hand hygiene occurrences based on a given number of hand hygiene ‘moments’.

Hand hygiene ‘moments’ are when there is a perceived or actual risk of pathogen transmission from one surface to another via a person’s hands, for example, before and after touching a patient, and before and after procedures.

The information is derived from audits of hand hygiene ‘moments’ that were conducted in public hospitals between July 2011 and October 2011 under the National Hand Hygiene Initiative, established by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

The aim is for healthcare workers to perform hand hygiene correctly at every opportunity.

Good hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to minimise the risk of healthcare associated infections, such as SAB—bacteraemia caused by Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as ‘golden staph’.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 6 March 2012

Further information: Jess Cumming, AIHW, 02 6249 5033; 0401 769 793

For assistance with the myhospitals.gov.au website: Publications Officer 02 6244 1032