National hand hygiene initiative

The WA Health Department and WA public hospitals have 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 a year of healthcare worker hand hygiene practices.

Monitoring and reporting of hand hygiene

WA was among the first states to publicly report detailed data about hand hygiene. 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.

How to interpret the data

The hand hygiene data is shown in charts and tables, on pages listed below.

Coloured bars and numbers are used identify compliance.

On some charts small lines or 'confidence intervals' are shown. Confidence intervals identify the range in which true compliance may lie. Confidence intervals will vary depending on the amount of information collected:

  • When only a small amount of information is collected, the confidence interval is larger, as it is more difficult to establish the true compliance level from a small sample of information.
  • When larger amounts of information are collected the confidence interval will be smaller, meaning the reliability of the result is higher.
  • The confidence intervals on the charts show the true compliance range with 95 per cent accuracy.

Caution should be exercised when using this data for comparison purposes, due to varying sample sizes.

Reports on hand hygiene

Last reviewed: 07-08-2020
Produced by

Patient Safety and Clinical Quality