National hand hygiene initiative

The WA health system has participated in the National Hand Hygiene Initiative (NHHI) since 2009. The initiative is a program developed by the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare to improve hand hygiene practices in Australian hospitals.

A major part of the initiative is to regularly observe and audit the hand hygiene practices of healthcare workers while they care for patients. This information is then fed back to them to help them improve their hand hygiene practices.

The auditing process

All states and territories participating in the NHHI use standard audit tools developed by the World Health Organisation to assess healthcare worker hand hygiene practices. Audit tools are available from the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare website (external site).

Our involvement with the National Hand Hygiene Initiative includes conducting 3 audits (1 voluntary) a year of healthcare worker hand hygiene practices.

Monitoring and reporting of hand hygiene practices

WA was among the first states to publicly report detailed data about hand hygiene compliance. WA Health is committed to informing the WA public about hospital performance in this area. Current research shows that the public reporting of hospital and health system performance can promote improvement in hand hygiene compliance.

WA hand hygiene data are displayed in interactive charts powered by Microsoft’s Power BI service (see links below). Power BI is a visualisation tool that allows you to interact with data in a simple and user-friendly way.

How to interpret the data

The hand hygiene compliance data are shown in interactive reports (see links below).

  • Bar charts and figures are used to identify compliance.
  • Every data element within the report can be hovered over to display a ‘tooltip’. Tooltips display the compliance percentage, correct moments and total moments for that variable (e.g. hospital, HSP, Healthcare worker).
  • Caution should be exercised when using these data for comparison purposes, due to varying sample sizes.

Hand hygiene dashboards

Last reviewed: 09-02-2024
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Patient Safety and Clinical Quality