Promoting Hand Hygiene With a Lighting Prompt

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The objective of this pilot study was to assess an automatic sink light design intervention as a prompt for clinician hand hygiene (as defined by World Health Organization [WHO]).


Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are still leading causes of morbidity and mortality and contribute to burdens on our healthcare system. Hand hygiene has been related to reducing the rate of HAIs and positively impacting both patient and hospital outcomes.


This pilot study was a prospective, longitudinal observational study of a convenience sample of healthcare clinicians. In one inpatient room, clinicians were exposed to a hand hygiene reminder that consisted of a light turning on over the sink as they entered. A control room (the adjacent inpatient room) did not have the intervention.


A total of 88 clinician encounters were monitored during the study. On the first observation day at the initial activation of the signal light system, the percentage of clinicians performing hand hygiene upon entering a room was only 7% in the control room and 23% in the intervention room. During the second observation (Day 14), those percentages were 16% in the control room and 30% in the intervention room. During the third observation (Day 21), those percentages were 23% in the control room and 23% in the intervention room.


The healthcare system frequently relies on expensive technology to improve healthcare delivery, but implementation of low-cost, low-technology methods such as this light may be effective in prompting hand hygiene.

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