Hope Truly Does Spring Eternal
(A selection from Micromanage, on this site)
155 years after Semmelweis discovered that hand washing saves lives, a report called "Hand washing and physicians: how to get them together" by Salemi C, Canola MT, and Eck EK, (their spellings) covered five observational studies conducted in an ICU in 1999 and 2000. Rates of compliance with hand washing regulations by physicians were 19%, 85%, 76%, 74%, and 68%, respectively.
In another report Jeannie Cimiotti, PhD, RN created the graphic below reviewing studies of rates of hand hygiene compliance among nurses, some of whom had been forewarned that their hand hygiene was going to be checked.
Non-compliance rates were from 30% when forewarned to 70% when not. Has there been any moment in the last century and a half when there have not been ongoing attempts to get caregivers to practice better hand hygiene? Can you find anyone in medicine who is not still under the impression that they can fix this? It is in their interests to imagine that the probalem is being managed as well as it can be, that it is not that big of a problem, that they already have it well under control, and that to the extent that they don't they will fix it. In is in the interests of patients to know better.
Medicine will not make patients safe until patients know when they don't.