How Has Dr. Jack Billi Achieved 100% Hand Hygiene Compliance Since 2008?

billiThanks to my friends in the Michigan Quality System group, the internal Lean group at the University of Michigan Health System.

They shared a video that was put together by Dr. Jack Billi, a long-time student of Lean and advocate for Lean healthcare.  You can listen to my podcast with him from 2011.

My contact in the MQS team says the video “is also an excellent example of standard work, PDCA, visual management, and a blame free culture.”   

In the video, Jack talks about his own efforts to achieve 100% hand hygiene compliance when entering and leaving patient exam rooms.

He tried a method that worked… except when it didn’t. That’s because the method relied on a reminder that was easy to miss. It wasn’t perfectly effective mistake proofing.

So, in the spirit of PDSA, he tried something else, but solving one problem created a different problem.

How did he eventually tweak his approach?

See here in the video:

Jack says he has been 100% compliant since 2008. It took him four weeks to experiment and develop a system that works for him.

“Vigilance is not a system,” he says. I agree.

My question would be about how to spread that method to other physicians in his group. Do they do the same thing? Or, do they get the same results through a different method?

How can we move beyond an approach that relies on posters, reminders, “be carefuls,” and such? Doctors and nurses know they are supposed to clean their hands, so it’s not an awareness or education issue (but hospitals seem to treat it like an education issue, but more posters don’t solve this problem).

Vigilance is not a system, says Dr. Jack Billi, about hand hygiene Click To Tweet

How can we fix the system so we make it easier for people to the right things the right way?


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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an eBook titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

9 Comments on "How Has Dr. Jack Billi Achieved 100% Hand Hygiene Compliance Since 2008?"

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  1. Mark Graban
    Twitter:
    says:

    Here is a recent Leapfrog Group report on the current state of hand hygiene compliance in hospitals:

    PDF LINK
    Mark Graban recently posted..Healthcare Headlines in the UK are Mostly Similar to the USMy Profile

  2. Wonderful, Mark! “Vigilance is not a system” is something for all managers and leaders to inculcate. But wouldn’t it have been so much easier if the medical centre CEO just told Dr. Billi that he (the doctor) was “accountable” for clean hands!

  3. Mark Graban
    Twitter:
    says:

    From a friend on Facebook:

    “That’s great for Jack, but how about the other 26,000 people that work at the U? (Especially the ones that aren’t as passionate as Jack about hand washing?) It’s a tough nut to crack at every hospital.”

    Mark Graban recently posted..Reader Question from an MD: One Shot to Talk to the Hospital CEO About #LeanMy Profile

  4. Mark Graban
    Twitter:
    says:

    Another good practice of Dr. Billi’s is his insistence on the “elbow bump” as a way of greeting instead of a handshake… not sure if he does that with patients, but I bet he does. I know he does the elbow bump in other settings.


    Mark Graban recently posted..Healthcare Headlines in the UK are Mostly Similar to the USMy Profile

  5. Mark Graban
    Twitter:
    says:

    Interesting headline from the Detroit News about the University of Michigan Health System:

    UM among worst area hospitals on infections

    The University of Michigan and Henry Ford health systems are among nine local hospitals that got poor ratings in a new report that looks at hospital-acquired infections among patients, with UM scoring among the worst

    And my favorite empty-words expression comes up from Henry Ford:

    The safety of our patients is our top priority and we have in place initiatives aimed at reducing infections,” said Dave Olejarz, spokesman for Henry Ford.

    Top priority? I guess not?

    Mark Graban recently posted..Using Lean to Organize Hospital Closets… NPR Commenters Are Not ImpressedMy Profile

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