Dirty hands still a problem in hospitals

Hygiene rates may be worse than reported

Hospital staff are less likely to wash their hands when they feel no one is watching, a study of Australian teaching hospitals reveals. 

washing hands chart

Researchers from UNSW found compliance rates fell from more than 90% to 30% when human auditors were relieved by automated surveillance.

This suggests that official compliance rates are overstated.

Automated surveillance consists of hand-hygiene dispensers at sinks and bedsides recording hand hygiene by touch.

Meanwhile, human surveillance is defined as direct observation of