Doctors more likely to wash hands when patients are watching

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

April 2, 2014

Doctors are more motivated to wash their hands if they know their patients are keeping tabs on their hygiene habits, according to a new Canadian study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
The study was conducted at Women's College Hospital in Toronto between August 2012 and June 2013, reported The Huffington Post. Patients at the hospital were given survey cards and were asked to watch the hand-washing practices of healthcare providers at the hospital during their visits. Doctors, nurses, and other staff at the hospital were aware that patients would be filling out these survey cards about their hand-washing habits.
According to the Post, most patients given the cards participated in the program, with a card return rate of 75.1%. According to the survey cards, the hand-washing compliance rate by the health care providers was 96.8%. Hospital safety experts have estimated average compliance rates to be around 50%.