May 12, 2016
Hand hygiene: Electronic monitoring tools just one element of compliance plans
Electronic monitoring tools may help promote hand-hygiene compliance, but ensuring that the habit sticks will require leaders to fully commit to enforcement, a study has found. Though proper hand hygiene is considered essential to avoid the spread of infectious diseases, close to a quarter of hospitals fail to meet all best practices. The research team, whose findings were published in Management Science, put radio frequency identification-based systems in 42 hospitals and monitored the hand-hygiene habits of more than 5,200 caregivers over the course of three years. On average, the studied healthcare professionals largely increased hand-hygiene compliance under the electronic monitoring at first, but it gradually declined after two years. When the electronic monitoring tools were removed, the team found that hand-washing rates went down, so no hand-hygiene habits were truly formed. The compliance rates actually dropped below those seen before the electronic tools were in place, the study found.