February Chairman’s Message

Honored and excited to be leading the Hand Hygiene Breakout/Workshop at the Patient Safety Movement Foundation 6th Annual World Patient Safety Science and Technology Summit in London this Sunday, February 25th at 9 AM local time. We will be using the PSMF Actionable Patient Safety Solution (APSS) for Hand Hygiene as Framework and Guideline to help attendees create a road map for their organization to drive sustainable improvement in hand hygiene performance thus reducing the risk of avoidable HAIs and their associated suffering and costs. Recent evidence proves that it takes three essential elements to ensure proper hand hygiene becomes a habit for all: accurate and reliable measurement using electronic compliance systems (NOT direct observation); timely & actionable feedback to unit leadership and front line staff and top down leadership support of culture change and psychological safety. The hand hygiene breakout is a must for any professional that values hand hygiene compliance as a key performance indicator of patient safety and quality healthcare. Attendees will also be encouraged to share their own personal experience, journey and stories and provide input into the next version of the APSS. Hope to see you there!


December Chairman’s Message

This is a watershed moment for the Patient Safety cause. The new hand hygiene performance standard issued by The Joint Commission this week takes facility accountability to a new level:

Effective January 1, 2018, for all accreditation programs, any observation by surveyors of individual failure to perform hand hygiene in the process of direct patient care will be cited as a deficiency resulting in a Requirement for Improvement (RFI) under Infection Prevention and Control (IC) Standard IC.02.01.01, EP 2.

Further, the Update states that: “While there are various causes for HAI’s, The Joint Commission has determined that failure to perform hand hygiene associated with direct care of patients should no longer be one of them.”

Hear! Hear!

Now it is even more critical for hospitals to ensure they are training, measuring and equipping healthcare providers with the tools needed to help ensure they perform hand hygiene consistently during patient care.The only way to effectively achieve this on a 24/7 basis is by implementing a validated electronic hand hygiene compliance system house-wide so that accurate and reliable feedback that drives true improvement can be given.

Direct Observation “secret-shopper” type audits of hand hygiene performance are widely known to be antiquated and only produce limited and falsely elevated rates of compliance. This can lead to hospital leaders becoming dangerously complacent. Even worse, this practice enables patient care with unclean hands when secret shoppers don’t intervene

Ready to take hand hygiene performance and patient safety to a new level? Contact any of our members to learn more about how you can solve this long-standing issue, avoid potential  RFIs from the Joint Commission and most importantly eliminate the risk of harm to your patients and staff.

Looking for a keynote speaker on the topic? Contact me at Chairman@EHCOhealth.org to learn more.

Best to all in our community for great holidays and a happy and healthy New Year!

Paul Alper,

Chairman, EHCO, Inc

Hospital Safety Grades Now Available

The LeapFrog Group’s Fall 2017 Hospital Safety Grades are now available. The Safety Grades are updated two times a year and include 27 measures to help keep patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors. Hospital safety grades can be found on the following link for 2,600 acute-care hospitals across the nation. For a summary of LeapFrog’s hospital findings and the states who are making strides in safety, please see here.


So happy to see that the HSAG HIIN (Hospital Improvement Innovation Network) is promoting the work of EHCO (www.EHCOhealth.org) via the Pacing Event we did for CMS/CMMI and the Partnership for Patients on their web site. Quoting from their web site: Summary from 5/25 Pacing Event: “Hand Hygiene Compliance and HAI Reductions”: As HIINs and hospitals work to reduce hospital-acquired infection rates, the importance of hand hygiene as a cross-cutting intervention continues to be highlighted. This Pacing Event discussed ideas and resources to electronically monitor providers’ hand hygiene behaviors as a way to improve compliance, reduce infections, and decrease hospital costs. Details regarding the over-estimation of appropriate handwashing among caregivers, the great results achieved as a result of improvements in this basic behavior, and linkages to the WHO Five Moments for Hand Hygiene was shared. Read more about Hand Hygiene and HAI Reductions via Electronic Monitoring here

October Chairman’s Message

In speaking at the Hospital and Health Systems Association of Pennsylvania’s (HAP) Patient Safety and Quality Symposium https://www.haponline.org/Event-Details/id/189 in Lancaster PA on October 10 with Connie Steed of the Greenville Health System, Greenville, SC and also at the State of Indiana APIC Annual Meeting on October 13, it occurred to me that the dialogue needs to shift more rapidly when it comes to how seriously hospital leaders need to take the Hand Hygiene problem as something that needs solving NOW. I was surprised how few attendees raised their hand when it come to investigating or using electronic monitoring when EVERYONE raised their hand when it came to “not believing” their hand hygiene Direct Observation data. This is a huge disconnect that impacts patients and hospital economics.
We cannot wait for more studies or evidence as the jury is IN when it comes to knowing with absolute certainty that Direct Observation with secret shoppers is unethical in addition to inaccurate and unreliable. And more senior leaders need to take swift action.

You have to know the real compliance number in order to drive authentic improvement otherwise you are just driving, as Elaine Larson has stated, a “vicious cycle of pseudo-improvement.”

So then what is the solution? – Electronic Monitoring of 100% of HH events is the only way to get there and we at EHCO take pride in our ability to deliver the facts to your organization in an un biased fashion.  

To request Paul Alper as a speaker at your organization’s event, contact him directly atChairman@EHCOhealth.org or +1 843 870 4801. To explore the various technologies offered by EHCO Members visit http://www.ehcohealth.org/#members