New Efforts To Increase The Frequency Of Hand Washing Among Doctors And Nurses


Hand washing compliance rates are often used by lawyers who sue hospitals to prove or disprove facts alleged in the lawsuit of plaintiffs who contracted an infection in a hospital. Now there are some hospitals that have installed motion sensors in their intensive care rooms that go off when a person enters the room. A video camera is then triggered and it transmits its images to India where works then check to see of doctors are washing their hands.

This approach is just one of the many efforts being made to promote hand washing (or hand hygiene as it is known by the hospital industry). Given the increase of drug resistant bacteria (according to a report made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)), and the cost of hospital-acquired infections costing $30 billion a year and nearly 100,000 deaths, hospitals are attempting almost anything to reduce the risk of transmission.

There have been studies that have shown that when hospital workers are not encouraged, they will wash their hands as little as 30 percent of the time when they are interacting with patients. So some hospitals have tried tactics such as training hand washing coaches, handing out rewards, and censure with “red cards” in order to encourage compliance. They are also using radio-frequency ID chips in order to keep track of when a doctor has passed a sink, as well as undercover monitors to watch their colleagues to determine if they are washing their hands for at least 15 seconds.

Some reasons that medical professionals are so bad about washing hands are complaints of dry skin, pressures of the environment in emergency situations, the tediousness of washing hands, and resisting authority. Another reason may be that these professionals need to remember so many things that it is easy to forget the most basic of tasks. There is some technology that will alert the wearer that their hands are not clean when they are near a hand sanitizer or soap dispenser. This reminds the worker to wash their hands but does not humiliate them in front of patients.

Unfortunately, no matter what system is in place, some people will learn how to get around it. If a person contracts an infection while in a hospital or another health care facility, an experienced medical malpractice attorney may be able to investigate whether or not there is a claim.

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