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Press Release


For Immediate Release: May 4, 2010

Contact: Jessica Jackson,, 410-379-6200, ext. 3365


Maryland Hospitals Join International Hand Hygiene Campaign

Statewide Collaborative Participates in Global Call to Action

Maryland hospitals tomorrow will join the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global call to action for health care workers and organizations to improve hand hygiene. The WHO campaign--SAVE LIVES: Clean your Hands--is part of an international effort to reduce health care-associated infections, and mirrors a statewide effort already underway in Maryland.

Hospitals in Maryland have for the past six months been participating in the Maryland Hospital Hand Hygiene Collaborative, which was launched in November and is building on the hand hygiene compliance activities at individual hospitals. More than 200 hospital professionals from 40 acute care and specialty hospitals attended a November kick-off event and continue to participate through educational programs, Webinars, and the sharing of information and best practices.

“In Maryland we understand that hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infection and thereby save lives,” said Health Secretary John Colmers. “The hand hygiene collaborative is just one initiative of the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council aimed at creating the healthiest Maryland possible. It is also a prime example of how government and the private sector can work together to improve our health system.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO have shown that adherence to common-sense hand hygiene protocols can dramatically lower hospital infection rates. To maximize hospitals’ effectiveness, Maryland’s Health Quality and Cost Council concluded that it is necessary to introduce some standardization throughout the state and recommended a common methodology that would allow for statewide comparability of hand hygiene compliance among the participating acute care hospitals.

“The work being done by Maryland hospitals to strengthen hand hygiene and prevent infections is truly making a difference in the lives of patients and families,” said Patrick Chaulk, MD, MPH, Executive Director & President of the Maryland Patient Safety Center. “Through the Maryland Hospital Hand Hygiene Collaborative, and now the WHO initiative, hospitals have an opportunity to share best practices, improve their hand hygiene efforts already underway, and use standard data to show results,” said MHA President & CEO Carmela Coyle. “Working together, hospitals can create powerful change.”

The Maryland Patient Safety Center is leading the effort along with support from the Maryland Hospital Association, the Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Health Care Commission, and the John Hopkins Center for Innovation in Quality Care.

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About The Maryland Patient Safety Center
The Maryland Patient Safety Center, a joint venture of the Maryland Hospital Association and the Delmarva Foundation, was created by the legislature and established by the Maryland Health Care Commission in 2004. The Center brings together hospitals and health care providers to improve patient safety and health care quality for all Marylanders. The goal of the Patient Safety Center is to make Maryland's health care the safest in the nation by focusing on the systems of care, minimizing the occurrence of adverse events, and improving the culture of patient safety in Maryland health care facilities. For more information, visit

About The Maryland Hospital Association
MHA is the advocate for Maryland hospitals, health systems, and their patients before legislative and regulatory bodies. Its membership is comprised of community and teaching hospitals, health systems, specialty hospitals, veterans hospitals, and long-term care facilities. For more information, visit