Compliance refers to generally complying with regulations, recommendations, and rules of conduct. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) describes compliance as "the extent to which a recommendation is followed". One example is hand hygiene that is carried out by doctors and nurses correctly and at the right time. The RKI assumes that hardly any hygiene directive reaches compliance of 100%. However, as long as no groundbreaking innovations help to further improve the protection of patients against nosocomial infections, the reduction of nosocomial infection rates is most likely to depend on compliance in the implementation of existing guidelines.
Compliance also describes the cooperation between doctor and patient. If patients follow the doctor’s instructions, they have a high compliance rate. The same applies to a physician who coordinates therapeutic measures to the needs and possibilities of each patient. When neither responds to the instructions or needs of the other, it is referred to as non-compliance.