Hand hygiene adherence among health care workers at Japanese hospitals: A multicenter observational study in Japan

Tomoko Sakihama, Hitoshi Honda, Sanjay Saint, Karen E. Fowler, Taro Shimizu, Toru Kamiya, Yumiko Sato, Soichi Arakawa, Jong Ja Lee, Kentaro Iwata, Mutsuko Mihashi, Yasuharu Tokuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although proper hand hygiene among health care workers is an important component of efforts to prevent health care-associated infection, there are few data available on adherence to hand hygiene practices in Japan. Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine hand hygiene adherence at teaching hospitals in Japan. Methods: An observational study was conducted fromJuly toNovember 2011 in 4 units (internal medicine, surgery, intensive care, and/or emergency department) in 4 geographically diverse hospitals (1 university hospital and 3 community teaching hospitals) in Japan. Hand hygiene practice before patient contact was assessed by an external observer. Results: In a total of 3545 health care worker-patient observations, appropriate hand hygiene practice was performed in 677 (overall adherence, 19%; 95% confidence interval, 18%-20%). Subgroup rates of hand hygiene adherence were 15% among physicians and 23% among nurses. The ranges of adherence were 11% to 25% between hospitals and 11% to 31% between units. Adherence of the nurses and the physicians to hand hygiene was correlated within each hospital. There was a trend toward higher hand hygiene adherence in hospitals with infection control nurses, compared with hospitals without them (29% versus 16%). Conclusions: The hand hygiene adherence in Japanese teaching hospitals in our sample was low, even lower than reported mean values from other international studies. Greater adherence to hand hygiene should be encouraged in Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Patient Safety
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Leadership and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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