Friday, May 11, 2012

Audible Reminder to Wash Your Hands

Here is an article on the effectiveness of audible hand hygiene alerts upon entering a patient care area. The study was published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Investigators in the UK utilized an electronic motion sensor–triggered audible hand hygiene reminder  that was installed at hospital ward entrances. The alert played the following message: “Please clean your hands with hand rub dispensers when entering or exiting any clinical ward."

Trained hand hygiene observers were utilized to document hand hygiene pre/post the intervention.

Three thousand hand hygiene opportunities were observed. Overall hand hygiene adherence increased from 7.6% to 49.9% (P < .001). The adherence of visitors and nonclinical staff increased immediately from 10.6% to 63.7% and from 5.3% to 34.8%, respectively (P < .001). Adherence of doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists increased gradually from 4.5% to 38.3%, from 5.4% to 43.4%, and from 8.7% to 49.5%, respectively (P< .001).

It is encouraging to see an improvement in hand hygiene with a simple, electronic and automated intervention. The baseline hand hygiene of 7.6 % in the study ward is alarmingly low and an improvement to only 50% is also concerning. More work needs to be done there.

Nevertheless, electronic hand hygiene monitoring systems, in my opinion, can play an important role in improving compliance.

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