Clinical effectiveness of alcohol-based products in increasing hand hygiene compliance and reducing infection rates: a systematic review

J Hosp Infect. 2007 Aug;66(4):308-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2007.04.017. Epub 2007 Jul 25.


Reducing the incidence of healthcare-associated infection represents a major challenge. This systematic review of the evidence base considers the clinical effectiveness of incorporating an alcohol-based hand hygiene product into procedures aimed at improving compliance with hand hygiene guidelines, and thereby reducing the incidence of healthcare-associated infections. Multi-component interventions that included alcohol-based products were as effective as those that did not, both in achieving sustained hand hygiene compliance and in reducing infection rates. However, a number of difficulties were encountered in assessing hand hygiene studies: the problem of attributing efficacy to an alcohol-based product when used in a multi-component intervention; the variability inherent in the design of such studies; and how to use data from uncontrolled, unblinded studies in the assessment.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohols / pharmacology*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Disinfectants / pharmacology*
  • Hand Disinfection / methods*
  • Humans


  • Alcohols
  • Disinfectants