Interventions to improve hand hygiene compliance in emergency departments: a systematic review

H. J. Seo, K. Y. Sohng, S. O. Chang, S. K. Chaung, J. S. Won, M. J. Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The emergency department (ED) is where hand hygiene problems are significant as the procedures in the ED are often high risk and invasive. To date, there have been no comprehensive reviews on hand hygiene in EDs. The aim of this study was to investigate hand hygiene compliance (HHC) rate, factors affecting the HHC rate, and intervention strategies to improve HHC in EDs. Electronic databases were used to search for research published from 1948 to January 2018. The databases included ovidMEDLINE, ovidEMBASE, the Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Koreamed, and Kmbase. All study designs were included. Two reviewers independently extracted the data and assessed the bias risk using reliable and validated tools. A narrative synthesis was performed. Twenty-four studies, including 12 cross-sectional surveys and 12 interventional studies, were included. Of the 12 interventional studies reviewed, only 33% (N = 4) reported HHC rates of more than 50%. Factors that influenced HHC included types of healthcare worker, hand hygiene indication, ED crowding, positive attitudes towards HHC, patient location, auditing hand hygiene, and type of shift. Almost all of the studies (83.3%) applied multimodal or dual interventions to improve HHC. A range of strategies, including education, monitoring and providing feedback, campaigns, and cues, effectively improved HHC. The review findings indicate that there is a room for improvement in HHC in EDs. Future randomized controlled trials are necessary to determine which intervention modalities are most effective and sustainable for HHC improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-406
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s)


  • Compliance
  • Emergency Services
  • Hand Disinfection
  • Hand hygiene
  • Hospital
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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