SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands1

The transfer of pathogens on the hands of healthcare workers to patients is a significant cause of healthcare associated infections (HAIs). Effective and consistent hand hygiene reduces HAIs, but compliance, either by washing with soap and water or using alcohol rubs, remains unacceptably low.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has created an evidence based, field-tested and user-centered approach to define the key moments when healthcare workers should perform hand hygiene called “My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene”. Despite the fact that all healthcare workers are trained in personal and patient safety, the increasing demands of the healthcare workers role, staff reductions, the time required to properly perform hand hygiene, and the chaotic nature of the environment make it nearly impossible to comply with the WHO guidelines.

A two-year study initiated in 2008 by the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare established baseline hand hygiene compliance rates among the study’s eight US based hospitals averaged less than 50%. A more recent Australian hospital study suggest that this rate may be as low as 30% 2.

In addition to low compliance rates, the incidence of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection has reached epidemic proportions in healthcare settings worlwide3. A 2011 hospital study suggests that C. diff has replaced methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as the most common cause of HAIs4. C. diff spores remain viable on surfaces within healthcare environments for up to six months, and there are no FDA approved hand antiseptics that are effective against it.

Hand Hygiene: More Than Time Can Slip Through Your Fingers | TEDxWaltham

Learn more about hand hygiene and a call for innovation from LivOnyx President & CSO, Carmela Mascio.



  1. World Health Organization global campaign (2017).
  2. “Hand hygiene compliance rates: Fact or Fiction”, American Journal of Infection Control, August 2018.
  3. “CDI: A Global Epidemic”, Medscape Infectious Diseases, 2008.
  4. Miller BA, Chen LF, Sexton DJ, Anderson DJ. Comparison of the burdens of hospital-onset, healthcare facility-associated Clostridium difficile infection and of healthcare-associated infection due to methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in community hospitals. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2011;32:387–90.