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Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is the act of removing and/or killing microorganisms (germs) on the hands.  When performed correctly, hand hygiene is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and infections.

In health care settings, hand hygiene is used to remove microorganisms that have been picked up through contact with patients, contaminated equipment or the environment.  Hand hygiene may be performed either by using soap and running water, or with alcohol-based hand rubs.

The HandyAudit System

Wondering why our hand hygiene auditors are using iPads? It’s a part of the HandyAudit system to better observe and record hand hygiene practices at our facilities. 

Why HandyAudit?

It reduces bias and makes results more reliable and consistent: With a focus on observation, auditors don’t have to make judgments on whether or not a hand hygiene moment was missed. They simply record a person’s actions. This also increases consistency of reports between auditors and sites.

It’s faster and more accurate: Results recorded on the iPad are instantly sent to the system, making reports available immediately. With these timely reports, we can target hand hygiene issues right away. No additional data-entry is required. In the past, IP&C had to manually input thousands of pieces of audit information. HandyAudit reduces the margin of error.

Who Conducts Audits and what Training is Required?

Only trained auditors use HandyAudit. They are required to attend 3-3.5 hours of in-person training before using the system. Additional on-unit practice time is required following the classroom education. Note that there is no train-the-trainer program. New Auditor Training Sessions are held prior to the start of each audit period (typically March and Sept of each year). To register for a New Auditor Training Session on CLiC, please click here. 

Auditors can review data they collect by logging onto the system. Super-Users (who attend an additional training session) can view data for an entire unit/program/facility/area of responsibility and can also create, share and print reports. 

All existing auditors are strongly encouraged to attend Hand Hygiene Forums each Spring and Fall. Forums cover key HandyAudit system updates, organizational information, scenarios, common questions, etc. In order to maintain consistency and integrity of the hand hygiene data collected, it is important that all auditors are aware of the content within each Forum. Forums are held in person or online prior to the start of each audit period (in March and Sept). A recording of each Forum is also posted on CLiC so that all auditors can access the information at their own convenience (sign in to CLiC -> select 'Video Channels' from the main page -> select 'Hand Hygiene Video Channel' -> subscribe to this Video Channel in order to see Forum content and other videos). 

What Does this Mean for you?

Staff involved in direct patient care will be audited. It is always important to follow the Four Moments of hand hygiene, even if you aren’t a part of direct care.

Visit the hand hygiene tools below for more information. 4 Moments for Hand Hygiene posters (as well as many others) are available for you to post as needed in your areas. Departments receive hand hygiene reports shortly after the audit periods conclude and also recieve hand hygiene rates through their quarterly dashboard (Acute Care only). If you have a trained Super-User within your department, reports can be simply generated at any point in time by that individual. 

How Often do Audits take place?

As part of our commitment to delivering safe care, Covenant Health conducts biannual hand hygiene compliance audits during the Spring and Fall. Audits take place throughout Covenant Health during the months of April-May and October-November. Some areas may choose to conduct hand hygiene audits on a more frequent basis. 


Hand Hygiene Audit Results

Spring 2017 Audit Results

Using HandyAudit, the following results are available electronically instantaneously to trained Super-Users. Infection Prevention and Control also has the ability to generate reports. 

The goal is to have at least two opportunites observed for every facility bed ie: 32 bed unit requires at least 64 opportunities observed. If the area/department is very small or is an outpatient area, the minimum number of opportunities observed should be at least 50. More observations will generate more accurate results, better reflecting hand hygiene practices at the facility.

The target hand hygiene compliane rate for Covenant Health is 90%. 


Number of


Hand Hygiene

Corporate 12,105 87.5% Corporate


4, 690 87.3% GNCH
MCH 2,294 85.4% MCH
Villa Caritas 269 77.0% Villa Caritas
St. Mary's-Camrose 126 91.3% Camrose
EGCCC 1,450 96.2% EGCCC
St. Mary's- Trochu 105 91.4% Trochu
Killam Health Centre 98 86.7% Killam
St. Therese- Lethbridge 612 77.0% Lethbridge
St. Joseph's- Vegreville 121 94.2% Vegreville
St. Joe's Home- Medicine Hat             50 92.0% Medicine Hat
Banff Mineral Springs 319 69.9% Banff
Bonnyville Health Centre 123 86.2% Bonnyville
Our Lady of  Rosary - Castor 95 100 % Castor
Mary Immaculate - Mundare 52 86.5% Mundare
St. Joseph's Auxiliary 555 89.0% St. Joseph's Aux    
St. Michael's - Lethbridge 527 90.5% Lethbridge
Youville Home                619 91.0% Youville

Corporate Hand Hygiene Compliance Site Comparison Graph

Hand Hygiene Auditor Information

The following information is directed towards trained COV Hand Hygiene Auditors. Note that auditors must attend an in-person New Auditor Training Session and then must complete on-unit practice audits in order to be trained. There is no train-the-trainer program. For more information regarding training, refer to the orange tab above that states "The HandyAudit System."

HandyAudit Self-Study Booklet for Auditors

iPad Reminders for Users

HandyAudit iPad Q&A Sheet 

How to Log into HandyAudit

How to Start an Observation Session 

How to End an Observation Session

How to Sync Your Data 

Where Can You Find Your Data?  

HandyAudit Definitions

HandyAudit Abbreviations/Actions

Clean Object Button

Dirty Object Button

Quick Reference for Aseptic Procedures  

How Many Opportunities Have I Collected?

HandyAudit Web Portal

HandyAudit Toll Free Support Line: 1-855-EZ-AUDIT