Industrial and Management Systems Engineering


Date of this Version

Winter 11-23-2011


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Paul Savory. Lincoln, Nebraska: November 2011

Copyright (c) 2011 CHRISTOPHER M. MASEK


Proper hand hygiene is known to reduce hospital acquired infections. Currently the most widely accepted method used to measure hand hygiene compliance is through direct observation. This method often provides data that may not accurately represent true hand hygiene compliance due to such factors such as the Hawthorne Effect. Perhaps a better approach is to use counting devices to capture hand hygiene opportunities and activities. This thesis focuses on the measurement of hand hygiene activities of all individuals that either work or visit an inpatient medical ward including healthcare workers, patients and visitors at the patient’s bedside for non-isolation patients. The objective of this study is to determine if a reasonable measurement of hand hygiene compliance can be made that does not require the healthcare worker to interact with the technology. Two experiments were conducted in this study. The first experiment was to determine if an observer being present on a medical ward would increase the hand hygiene compliance compared to when the observer was not present. The second experiment looked at the use of counting devices as an alternative to direct observation to monitor hand hygiene compliance. Data was collected at a Veterans Affairs medical center in Omaha, NE over a 3-week period. The results show that compliance of hand hygiene increased during the observation period. Results for the second experiment show that the compliance of the counters was well below what is typically found in non-ICU hospitals.

Adviser: Paul Savory