Nav: Home

Seeing is believing: Visual triggers increase hand hygiene compliance

June 09, 2016

Charlotte, N.C., June 9, 2016 - Can you use the "ick factor" to get healthcare workers to clean their hands more often? Yes, according to a new study being presented on June 11 at the 43rd Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

The infection control team at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan, used images of bacterial growth to provoke feelings of disgust and motivate hospital staff to comply with hand hygiene guidelines. The team developed a book of images containing bacterial cultures of differing types and levels of contamination, as measured by Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) meter readings. They tested the images on hospital units that had low hand hygiene compliance rates, and over a two-month period, they visited those units 10 times, sampled workers' hands for bacteria, and then showed them pictures of cultures similar to the contamination on their hands. Compliance increased by between 11 and 46 percentage points in units where the study was conducted.

"Hospital staff wanted to wash their hands after looking at the book and picturing similar contamination on their own skin," said Ashley Gregory, MSL (ASCP), an infection prevention specialist who co-led the project. "Using this example, other institutions may be able to change behavior and improve their hand hygiene compliance rates by influencing staff to connect the images of microbial contamination with non-adherence to hand hygiene guidelines."

The program also motivated healthcare personnel (HCP) to take ownership of the environmental cleaning of their workspace. By comparing the ATP readings taken from phones, mobile work stations, and computer mouse devices to the photos in the book of germ images, HCP were able to visualize the contamination on the surfaces surrounding them.

"Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection, and yet it can be one of the most difficult benchmarks to improve," said APIC 2016 President Susan Dolan, RN, MS, CIC, hospital epidemiologist, Children's Hospital Colorado. "The visual nature of this approach proved successful for the team at Henry Ford Health System, and it may offer an effective strategy for other healthcare facilities that are looking for ways to change behavior and improve hand hygiene compliance."

Henry Ford's infection control team was inspired by new research from St. John's Research Institute in the United Kingdom, which found that leveraging emotional motivators in Indian villages was more effective at promoting behavioral changes in hand hygiene than traditional messaging.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700,000 healthcare-associated infections occur in U.S. acute care hospitals every year. It is well documented that effective hand hygiene helps reduce the spread of infections. Despite this evidence, HCP practice hand hygiene less than half of the times they should.

APIC 2016 Annual Conference, June 11-13 in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the most comprehensive infection prevention conference in the world, with more than 60 educational sessions and workshops led by experts from across the globe and attended by nearly 4,000 professionals. The conference aims to provide infection preventionists, physicians, researchers, epidemiologists, educators, administrators, and medical technologists with strategies that can be implemented immediately to improve prevention programs and make healthcare safer. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #APIC2016.
-end-
ABOUT APIC

APIC's mission is to create a safer world through prevention of infection. The association's more than 15,000 members direct infection prevention programs that save lives and improve the bottom line for hospitals and other healthcare facilities. APIC advances its mission through patient safety, implementation science, competencies and certification, advocacy, and data standardization. Visit APIC online at http://www.apic.org. Follow APIC on Twitter and Facebook. For consumer information, visit APIC's Infection Prevention and You website.

Association for Professionals in Infection Control

Related Healthcare Articles:

Women and men executives have differing perceptions of healthcare workplaces according to a survey report in the Journal of Healthcare Management
Healthcare organizations that can attract and retain talented women executives have the advantage over their peers, finds a special report in the September/October issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management, an official publication of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).
Greater financial integration generally not associated with better healthcare quality
New findings from a Dartmouth-led study, published in the August issue of Health Affairs, show that larger, more integrated healthcare systems do not generally deliver better quality care, and that there is significant variation in quality scores across hospitals and physician practices, regardless of whether they are independent or owned by larger systems.
Wearable sensor may help to assess stress in healthcare workers
A wearable biosensor may help monitor stress experienced by healthcare professionals, according to a study published in Physiological Reports.
Healthcare innovators focus on 'quality as a business strategy' -- update from Journal of Healthcare Quality
Despite two decades of effort -- targeting care processes, outcomes, and most recently the value of care - progress has been slow in closing the gap between quality and cost in the US healthcare system.
How runaway healthcare costs are a threat to older adults and what to do about it
Empowering Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices, accelerating the adoption of value-based care, using philanthropy as a catalyst for reform and expanding senior-specific models of care are among recommendations for reducing healthcare costs published in a new special report and supplement to the Winter 2019-20 edition of Generations, the journal of the American Society of Aging (ASA).
How can healthcare achieve real technology driven transformation?
Real transformation in healthcare through the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, telecommunications, and other advanced technologies could provide significant improvements in healthcare quality, productivity, and access.
Increasing transparency in the healthcare sector: More might not be better
More isn't always better. That's what researchers say when it comes to transparency in the US healthcare system.
LGBT+ women face barriers to healthcare
New study suggests diversity messaging is not filtering down to frontline staff.
US and China should collaborate, not compete, to bring AI to healthcare
In the wake of the US government ordering the Chinese artificial intelligence company, iCarbonX, to divest its majority ownership stake in the Cambridge, Mass.-based company PatientsLikeMe, Eric Topol, MD, of Scripps Research, has co-written a commentary arguing for more, not less, collaboration between China and the US on artificial intelligence (AI) development.
Study highlights need for integrated healthcare for the homeless
A University of Birmingham study has found alarming evidence of severe mental health problems, substance dependence and alcohol misuse amongst homeless population.
More Healthcare News and Healthcare Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.