Can Patient, Physician Co-Washing Increase Hand Washing Practice?

HealthDay News — A new approach to outpatient hand washing involving patient and physician co-washing may increase hand washing, according to a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Gregory A. Doyle, MD, from West Virginia University in Morgantown, and colleagues tested a new approach involving patient and physician hand washing. Clinicians offered sanitizer to the patient and used the sanitizer to wash their own hands in front of the patient. Data were included from 384 questionnaires: 184 from phase 1 (pre-intervention) and 200 from phase 2 (post-intervention).

The researchers found that according to patients, doctors washed their hands 96.6% and 99.5% of the time before examining them pre-intervention and post-intervention, respectively. Overall, 98.7% of the time patients endorsed the importance of hand washing.

“Further research is recommended to determine whether ‘co-washing’ enhances clinic hand washing or hand washing at home by patients, and whether it can reduce infection rates,” the authors write.

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Doyle GA, Xiang J, Zaman H, et al. Patient attitudes and participation in hand co-washing in an outpatient clinic before and after a prompt. Ann Fam Med. 2017;15:155-157. doi: 10.1370/afm.2033