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CDC Video Urges Patients to Insist They Witness Provider Hand-washing

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 7, 2009

The video appears to be doing a good job at convincing patients and their caregivers not to be afraid, and to not be embarrassed for asking. Premier Inc. healthcare alliance conducted a before-and-after survey at 17 Catholic Health Partners hospitals in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee to determine whether patients who watched the video were more likely to speak up or consider doing so if they didn't see their caregiver wash or use sanitizer at the bedside.

About 440 patients or family members were surveyed before they saw the video. One month later, with a different group of patients, about 440 patients or family members were asked after they saw the video.

The results showed that after the video was shown, twice as many patients were willing to ask their doctors or nurses to perform hand hygiene than before the video was provided, said Premier Inc. spokesman Alven Weil.

Nearly 1,000 nurses and 611 physicians were also shown the video at points in time both before and after the video was widely shown throughout the hospital.

Interestingly enough, doctors and nurses said they were much more likely to get reminded about washing after the video was shown, Weil said.

Studies suggest that only 50% of caregivers actually wash their hands when they're supposed to before patient contact, although 90% think they do it when they should.

Hospital acquired infections are estimated to affect more than 1.7 million patients a year, kill 99,000 patients a year, and cost between $35 billion and $45 billion a year. And, under new federal reimbursement policy, payment for care required as a result of hospital acquired infections will no longer be approved, making prevention that much more urgent.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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