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How the Right Words Can Deliver a 6-Figure Payoff

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media, September 14, 2011

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that hand washing adherence among healthcare personnel is less than 50%, meaning that  the level of hand hygiene among doctors, nurses, and other clinicians is dismal..

Each year in the U.S., two million patients become infected with a hospital acquired infection and the annual costs range from $4.5 billion to $11 billion. But an infection is not simply a monetary issue, it's a safety compliance issue that puts patients at extreme risk.

The problem doesn't stem from hospitals lack of infection control supplies, but rather from  individual medical professional's compliance with tasks as simple as hand washing.

Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis first corelated infection rates from childbed fever with hand washing in 1847. It took the medical community some time to accept the importance of the task. But it's been164 years  and hospitals and health systems are still having problems with hand washing compliance.

Parkland Memorial Hospital's recent failure to "dispose of soiled gloves and gowns and wash hands after treating patients" shows how even reputable hospitals can slip up on standard practices. The Dallas hospital has agreed to bring in an outside consultant to craft a plan of improvement to protect its $417 million in Medicare and Medicaid funds at risk because of immediate jeopardy deficiencies.

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1 comments on "How the Right Words Can Deliver a 6-Figure Payoff"


D.Goins, LCSW (9/23/2011 at 2:48 PM)
perhaps a more graphic posting would help as well. I've worked in hospitals for most of my career, & therefore, attended universal precautions lectures on many occasions. I've seen the signs, heard the lectures, but no one has said "the rest of the story". When you do not wash your hands after using the toilet, when you go to eat, return to the restroom, go to the toilet & eat/drink your fill. & if that isn't disgusting enough... If you eat/drink, shake hands/touch anyone who hasn't washed their hands after using the toilet, &/or touched something they have then you might as well join them because you are ingesting/handling the things no one's body will handle. That's why it is waste. I hope this brings home just what the effects are of not washing your hands after your body rids itself of offal. Frankly, I don't want to eat my own offal, never mind your's! WASH YOUR HANDS, FOLKS. PLEASE!