Appropriate hand hygiene is the most effective and established way to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections. There has been a concerted effort in recent years to get more medical personnel like doctors and nurses, to practice appropriate hand hygiene practices. However, new data seems to indicate that the doctors are falling behind nurses in hand hygiene practices.
The study was published recently in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. The researchers were looking at the effectiveness of education programs in helping raise hand hygiene rates in hospitals. The good news is that the data does show that there has been a significant improvement in the hand hygiene and hand washing rates among healthcare personnel. The researchers focused on 43 hospitals across five countries, and found that the education initiative has been successful in helping increase hand hygiene rates by as much as 16%.
However, there is plenty of room for improvement. The research seems to indicate that before the launch of the initiative, healthcare workers missed about 50% of the hand hygiene opportunities. After the program, they missed about one- third of the opportunities that they saw. That indicates that even though there has been some improvement, there can be further progressing increasing compliance rates for medical personnel.
The study also found that nurses seem to have the highest compliance rates on hand hygiene rules. Approximately 71% of the nurses complied with hand hygiene and hand washing rules before the program, and doctors have some of the lowest rates at 60%. Even after the program, nurses continued to have the highest compliance rates.