Alternatives to the medical checklist?

In Maryland, state leaders recently kicked off a program that will send 45 teams of observers to 47 hospitals to record the hand-washing habits of doctors and nurses. Governing Magazine calls the teams, spies. They have to be anonymous in order to alleviate the potential Hawthorne effect.

So far, the medical checklist is the most successful and best known nudge for improving hand-washing habits in hospitals, but the program’s FAQ makes clear it is open to other strategies that include “campaign branding, addition of new members to the multidisciplinary HH (hand hygiene) team, hand hygiene education, signage, environmental enhancements, improved reporting process, new tool development, enhanced communications concerning HH, and others.”

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5 Responses to “Alternatives to the medical checklist?”

  1. Will Slade Says:

    Put this on every door.

    And have the caption be something that the nurses can tease the doctors with. “Wash your hands you arrogant jerks” springs to mind.

  2. blaine warkentine MD Says:

    we have a germaphone app coming out to the app store with our antimicrobial mobile phone holders that tell a message of hand hygiene.

    good post.

  3. KOH Says:

    The Freakonomics duo looked at this issue: http://www.eclips.consult.com/eclips/article/Ophthalmology/S0084-392X%2808%2970206-5. At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the leftover bacteria on doctors’ hands were cultured and turned into visual images displayed as ubiquitous screensavers. Result? Hand washing compliance rose to almost 100%.

  4. Dr. Lawrence Kindo Says:

    This is one interesting move. Should try this in India. I will definitely promote this campaign in some small way like the Freakonomics duo. It is sure to help those hapless patients put into our hands. Care to think of the cost of hospital-acquired or iatrogenic infections, the figures are horrendous. A small move could have saved much.

  5. Dr. Harris Meyer Says:

    More and more has come out on this issue in the past several months. It’s absurd that we tell our kids to wash their hands after they’ve gone to the bathroom but we have to be concerned about such an easy practice in the hospital. It’s just so ridiculous. Thanks for this good post.

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