The coupling of measurement, statistics, and process control is a very old concept with proven results. Your business is undoubtedly employing measurement in other areas requiring process control. Manufacturing processes strive for zero defects. Clearly we can identify the similarity with food services striving for zero outbreaks of foodborne illness. Employing a process that includes education, providing access to proper hand washing facilities, using measurement techniques and reporting the statistical data generated can and will improve performance and reduce risk.
The issue of implementing defined processes and procedures via a hand hygiene system that is integrated with a viable educational program can be overwhelming. Ideally, the system must be able to gather hand-wash data unobtrusively, process it without human intervention in a timely manner and display the results in a format that can be easily read and acted upon by management. Ideally, hand hygiene performance results should be easily available to each stakeholder with a vested interest in using these results as a process control tool. In the case of operations with multiple locations where comparative analysis may be advantageous, or when remote access to information is necessary, the performance results may reside on a corporate network or a secured Web site.
Managers must have a tool that can be used to measure and report compliance status as well as one that aids in the improvement of hand hygiene performance. For example, the system may produce displayable charts that can be used to further educate and motivate employees. The total system—educating, measuring, reporting—should promote and encourage buy-in at every level of the organization for complete success.