Hand Hygiene Compliance Industry Group Formed to Lead Change for Patient Safety

Stamford, CT – February 2, 2016To create meaningful awareness of the patient safety risks and the economic burden to the US healthcare system of outdated hand hygiene compliance measurement, eight US-based hand hygiene compliance solution providers have formed an alliance. EHCO™, the Electronic Hand hygiene Compliance Organization, aims to lead and influence changes in hand hygiene measurement policy and guidelines at accreditation organizations, government agencies, health insurers, and hospitals. EHCO’s focus is to improve hand hygiene compliance and, in turn, increase safety and reduce avoidable harm to patients and hospital staff.
Every year in the US, more than 700,000 hospital patients contract an avoidable infection known as an HAI, or healthcare-associated infection. Of those patients, approximately 75,000 will die1. While proper hand hygiene is critical to preventing the transmission of many infections, compliance with hand hygiene guidelines is less than 50% globally2. Until recently, the only way to measure how well healthcare workers performed hand hygiene was manual direct observation. With direct observation, individuals know they are being observed and adjust their behavior, a phenomenon known as the Hawthorne Effect, inflating a hospital’s true compliance rate. A hospital may think its hand hygiene compliance rate is 90%; but direct observation only accounts for 1.2% to 3.5% of all hand hygiene events3, leaving more than 96% of hand hygiene events undocumented and compliance rates highly overstated.

“Patient health and lives are being put at risk by outdated compliance measurement methods which often inflate actual hand hygiene rates by up to 300%4,” said Paul Alper, Chairman of EHCO™ and VP of Patient Safety Strategy, DebMed. “Patients are subjected to extended lengths of stay and unnecessary suffering as a result of HAIs, many of which could be prevented with proper hand hygiene. That is why the members of EHCO are uniting to drive change in US healthcare policy.” Alper continued.

Only within the past few years has evidence-based electronic measurement of hand hygiene become widely available to accurately and continuously measure hand hygiene compliance in real-time and enable meaningful feedback to healthcare workers. While capturing 100% of hand hygiene behavior electronically gives hospital leaders in quality, patient safety, and infection control visibility to accurate and reliable rates, no policy guidelines or mandates exist. EHCO™ member companies believe that it is their responsibility to lead the change in the acceptable standard of care to improve public health and patient safety.

Connie Steed, Director of Infection Prevention at the Greenville Health System in Greenville, SC has been working with one electronic hand hygiene company for the past six years to help them develop and perfect their system.

“We are excited to have electronic hand hygiene compliance measurement throughout our seven hospitals,” said Steed. “We now have a better understanding of the compliance rate for all of our hand hygiene behavior 24/7. We switched away from direct observation, the most common monitoring methodology, because it only gave us data for a small snapshot in time and healthcare workers behave differently when being observed. Thus our rates with direct observation were much higher than our 24/7 reality.”

“We have seen consistent double digit increases in hand hygiene compliance and reductions in healthcare-associated infections,” continued Steed. “These benefits have come with cost savings that can justify the cost of the system.”

The companies engaged in EHCO™ include Airista, BioVigil, CenTrak®, Clean Hands-Safe Hands, DebMed, Hill-Rom, Inc., SwipeSense, and Versus Technology.

“We have come together with a common goal, to lead the change in how hospitals measure this key performance indicator of patient safety and quality,” said Alper. “Just as every other area of healthcare is adopting advanced technologies for improved efficiencies and care, there is now innovative technology to help drive true improvement in hand hygiene compliance that is linked to the reduction of avoidable infections and their associated costs.” continued Alper.

For more information, visit

1.”Healthcare-associated Infections (HAIs).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Oct. 2015. Web. Available at

2.McGuckin M. Waterman R. Govednik J. “Hand hygiene compliance rates in the United States — a one-year multicenter collaboration using product/volume usage measurement and feedback.” School of Population Health Faculty Papers. March 2009 24(3): 205-213.

3. Fries SL, Tolentino G, Thomas T, et al. Monitoring hand hygiene via human observers: how should we be sampling? Presented at 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America; Dallas, TX: 2011. Abstract 50. Available at

4. Srigley JA, et al. (2014). Quantification of the Hawthorne effect in hand hygiene compliance monitoring using an electronic monitoring system: A retrospective cohort study. BMJ Qual Saf, 974-80. doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2014-003080. Available at


EHCO™ is a consortium of healthcare technology companies that provide SMART (Systems that Measure Accurately and in Real-Time) hand hygiene compliance solutions. EHCO’s member companies are committed to lead and influence changes in policy and guidelines at accreditation organizations, government agencies, health insurers, and hospitals along with educating consumers on this important public health issue. The intended outcome of their work is the reduction of avoidable harm.


Headquartered in Sparks, Maryland with additional offices in Annapolis, AiRISTA is the leading provider of true Wi-Fi based RFID, RTLS, and GPS technologies. AiRISTA offers the most robust and flexible RTLS workflow platform offered in the market supporting many applications such AiRISTA’s scalable Wi-Fi and BLE Hand Hygiene offering. Highly flexible, AiRISTA deploys Active, Passive and Wi-Fi RTLS solutions through its proprietary hardware, a customer’s existing RTLS infrastructure, or mix of different technologies, all managed through one platform, ensuring proper pairing of hardware to use case. AiRISTA leverages this hardware flexibility with the company’s internationally recognized Unified Visibility Software platform. The UVS platform provides fully customizable Track and Trace solutions, a robust highly configurable business rules engine, alert and alarm management and a powerful centralized system integration BUS, able to provide connectivity between any localized software platforms. AiRISTA services a broad spectrum of industries with core focus on Healthcare, Logistics, Aerospace and Oil & Gas. More information the company and offerings can be found at


BIOVIGIL Hygiene Technologies, LLC is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Developing effective and compelling hygiene technologies is our sole business focus. Our company differentiates itself from competitive solutions with a number of patents, which are unique to our product use-case and system solutions for hand hygiene detection and reporting. BIOVIGIL’s patented technology can be easily deployed in any circumstance where monitoring and compliance to hand hygiene policies are essential to protecting, or improving patient and/or staff safety. For more information visit


CenTrak® is the leading provider of precise, versatile and cost-effective visibility solutions for healthcare. CenTrak’s Clinical-Grade Visibility™ platform delivers unmatched accuracy, speed, performance and power-efficiency making it a smarter technology investment. CenTrak’s Gen2IR™ technology delivers certainty-based location data, a requirement for workflow and other key healthcare management applications. CenTrak is currently deployed at hundreds of world-class healthcare facilities in the US, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.


Clean Hands Safe Hands (CHSH) is a technology company that has developed a cost-effective, wireless, proprietary technology for the healthcare market. CHSH helps hospitals monitor and improve hand hygiene compliance by transforming simple dispensers into a secure connected device analytics platform. This data and sensor network change provider behavior that leads to improved patient safety and reduced costs. See to learn more.


DebMed is the healthcare program of the Deb Group. The DebMed program offers innovative hand hygiene products, electronic compliance measurement technology and improvement tools. The DebMed® GMS™ (Group Monitoring System), winner of the 2013 Frost & Sullivan Hand Hygiene Solutions New Product Innovation Award, is the world’s first and only system to report hand hygiene compliance rates based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Five Moments for Hand Hygiene” and to date has recorded more than 125 million hand hygiene events. The system is being utilized in a four year, multi-site research project being conducted by the Columbia University School of Nursing and funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). In 2015 Deb Group was acquired by SC Johnson, a privately held, family company and one of the worlds leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care. For more information, visit


Hill-Rom is a leading global medical technology company with approximately 10,000 employees worldwide. We partner with health care providers in more than 100 countries by focusing on patient care solutions that improve clinical and economic outcomes in five core areas: Advancing Mobility, Wound Care and Prevention, Clinical Workflow, Surgical Safety and Efficiency, and Respiratory Health. Around the world, Hill-Rom’s people, products, and programs work towards one mission: Enhancing outcomes for patients and their caregivers.


SwipeSense transforms the way healthcare organizations manage infection control. Our products ensure every hand hygiene event performed by staff is recorded, along with date, time and location-specific information, to provide risk and infection prevention professionals with the compliance data needed to effectively administer their organization’s quality initiatives and correlate hand hygiene data with infection outbreaks. To date, SwipeSense has collected millions of datapoints in hand hygiene compliance and demonstrated significant improvement to patient safety across the US. To learn more about SwipeSense, visit


As a pioneer in automated hand hygiene solutions, Versus Technology, Inc. specializes in Real-time Locating Systems (RTLS) for healthcare. Used by more than 800 hospitals and healthcare organizations for enterprise patient tracking, bed management, asset management, and automated hand hygiene monitoring, Versus improves patient flow and documentation of caregiver and patient interactions, while enhancing safety, communication and efficiency. The Versus infrared (IR), Wi-Fi, and Active RFID solution is responsible for clinical-grade location and automation at hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities worldwide. To learn more about Versus, our technology and client successes, visit