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Screen savers and call bells offer hand hygiene reminders

Two studies look at infection control prompts

Non-pharmaceutical interventions for preventing and controlling infection often take a back seat to vaccination programs. This is especially true during flu season. While vaccination is a vital cornerstone of preventing disease spread, limited access to vaccine and reluctance of staff to get vaccinated can cripple your vaccination program. Non-pharmaceutical interventions are easily taught and integrated within your daily routine. The typical non-pharmaceutical interventions include hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and appropriate social distancing, and should be readily available at all times. Hand hygiene is historically considered the most important of these interventions for controlling the spread of disease.

How do we increase voluntary compliance with such an important intervention?

Two studies published in the American Journal of Infection Control looked specifically at ways to improve hand hygiene compliance.

Sample screen saver message
Computer screen saver hand hygiene information curbs a negative trend in hand hygiene behavior.
Can your screen saver change hand hygiene habits? Apparently so, according to the authors of this study. They concluded that by placing gain-framed messages highlighting the benefits of hand hygiene on computer screen savers that compliance was increased.

Evidenced based or not, this seems like a good idea. Screen savers are a venue for delivering a message to your target audience. Rather than displaying some random graphic or blank screen, use the screen saver to reinforce important information on relevant topics.

Positive deviance: Using a nurse call system to evaluate hand hygiene practices evaluated the use of staff alerting system (referred to in the study as a nurse call system) to improve compliance with hand hygiene when entering and leaving a patient care area.
This study monitored the use of alcohol based hand sanitizers using electronic counters. They found that the use of hand sanitizer increased after linking the call system and sanitizer use data - using the call system as a reminder to use hand sanitizer - with higher utilization rates remaining for 2 years. They also noted a trend toward lower device-related infections, including urinary catheter-associated infections.

The study concluded: “The PD [positive deviance] approach to hand hygiene produced increased compliance, as measured by increased consumption of alcohol hand sanitizer, an improved ratio of alcohol hand rub uses to nurse visits, and a reduced rate of device-related infections, with results sustained over 2 years.”

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