Healthcare News & Insights

Hand washing: More likely at the mall than the OR

Here’s some news no one wants to ponder for long: Random people in public bathrooms have better hand washing habits then doctors working in U.S. hospitals.

A researcher with the Kellogg School of Management compared two recent studies. One, by the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute, found that 85% of adults wash their hands after using public restrooms.

A separate study, by the American Journal of Medical Quality, found that health care providers in ICUs had only a 26% hand washing compliance rate. That’s not much out of line with other research that’s reported compliance rates in the 30%-40% range.

The good news: Hospitals looking to increase staff compliance rates for hand hygiene have had great success with dedicated retraining/reminder programs.

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