Hand hygiene fun and games

By: October 28th, 2009 Email This Post Print This Post

Back in May I wrote about a hand hygiene tag, a game created by employees at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). The idea was an interesting and well-received approach to hand hygiene compliance.

I can only assume these hand hygiene games are effective at BIDMC because it seems the facility has launched another campaign. This time the facility has adopted a bowling theme, according to BIDMC CEO Paul Levy’s blog, “Running a Hospital.” Levy posted the memo that went out to employees on Monday explaining the medical center’s goal to improve hand hygiene compliance from 80%-90%. Here’s an excerpt:

BIDMC Bowl-O-Rama (Knock Down The Germs) will use a bowling-themed scoring grid to communicate unit performance in each measurement period. Those units meeting the new goal will receive rewards such as bowling shaped cookies and coffee to winning units at the halfway mark (April, 2010), and a big party with raffles during Infection Prevention Week in October 2010.

Our grand prize will be a Wii game system, including the sports/bowling program, as well as other bowling-themed prizes, gift certificates to area bowling alleys, custom made bowling shirts (for select Hand Hygiene advocate champions), and bowling-themed movies such as “The Big Lebowski.” Unit-based bowling trophies will also make the rounds to highlight and reward compliance.

(In case anyone was counting, that’s the second reference to “The Big Lebowski” on this blog in as many months.)

Levy notes that while these games elicit compliance from all groups, openly disclosing infection rates and hand hygiene compliance rates has created a level of awareness and transparency that should not go unnoticed

BIDMC posts this information on their corporate Web site and updates it at least every quarter.

“As I have often mentioned, we believe that public presentation of our performance data stimulates internal improvement by helping to hold ourselves accountable to the standard of performance for which we stand,” Levy writes.

What are your thoughts on hand hygiene games? Does your hospital publicly disclose hand hygiene rates? Do you think they should? Let us know in the space below.


By Debbie Clark RRT, MPH on November 17th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Our facility does disclose publicly our hand hygiene rates and they have been consistently 90% or better.


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