Saturday, February 02, 2008

A simple idea for hand hygiene

From one of our Emergency Department doctors comes this very sensible and simple approach that could be used by doctors in almost every setting -- both to remind themselves to practice correct hand hygiene and to reassure patients that they have done so:

After much personal trial and error, I finally came up with a successful solution to the hand-washing issue. The key for me is incorporating a preset routine into my introduction whenever I walk into a room to meet a patient, much like the pre-shot routine of a golfer or a basketball player shooting a free throw. My routine is...”Hello, I am Dr. Jones. I am going to wash my hands as we get to know each other. What brings you to the ER today?” I teach this type of routine to my residents as well.


YS said...

Thanks for the idea. I might try that in my Step 2 CS exam ;)

Anonymous said...

That's a brilliant idea. Personally I've solved some "I hate to xyz" issues by weaving them into some existing routine, so they don't become some "extra chore to add to my already overburdened list".

Anonymous said...

As a patient, I commonly wash my hands in examining rooms in front of my providers. Although they may wash their hands before they greet me, I do often do not know what their hand has last touched before they shake mine.

Just as I model hand-washing for my children, I use soap provided in and out of every waiting room, as well. Patients should be educated to demand hand-washing by providers. There are efforts by consumer groups to do just that.

Star Lawrence said...

Unfortunately, I have been in more than my share of EDs and have never had a doctor wash upon entering. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Levy,

This is brilliant in its simplicity. As a patient advocate who advises others, I've suggested my patient-readers incorporate your idea into their routine, too:

Thanks. Well done.

Trisha Torrey
Every Patient's Advocate Guide to Patient Empowerment