Strategies and Tactics to Improve Hand Hygiene

Monitoring by itself doesn’t change behavior of healthcare workers

February 22, 2021

Infection control strategies in healthcare facilities know that monitoring by itself doesn’t change behavior of healthcare workers when it comes to hand hygiene. In fact, technology alone isn’t always the answer, either. Some of the most effective systems are a hybrid of the latest technology and more traditional methods, such as rewards and recognition.

If hospital administrators could have 1 wish, it might be to have 100 percent compliance with hand hygiene protocols. So they are doing everything they can to encourage compliance, which is particularly critical now when people — including 3,142 healthcare workers at the start of 2021 — are still dying of COVID-19, according to Infection Control Today.

Electronic monitoring, sensors, and voice prompts aren’t new, and the technology keeps evolving. The Clean Hands–Safe Hands system, for instance, allows users to customize the audio file reminder with their preferred voice and content, such as the infection preventionist’s or a child’s voice.

Consider Sentara Healthcare, a not-for-profit integrated health care system Norfolk, Virginia. Ten years ago, Sentara hired QualPro, a quality control consultancy, to test and analyze 21 interventions. Eventually, Sentara decided on interventions that included computer screensavers encouraging hand hygiene and awarding Hero of the Month titles to employees with high compliance rates. Other low-tech interventions included red stop signs to remind staff to wash their hands and random quizzes.

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Topic Area: Infection Control

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