A new study suggests that Australian doctors neglect hand hygiene when they examine patients one after the other.
The study by researchers at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, said that by neglecting hand hygiene practices doctors are exposing patients to the risk of infectious bugs.
The study revealed that hand hygiene among doctors failed the accepted threshold level and was at 61 per cent to 68 per cent. However, compliance among nurses was at 77 per cent to 84 per cent. "Compliance for medical staff was 17 to 18 PPs lower than that for nursing staff regardless of hospital size. After adjusting for the effect of differential sampling of high-performing nursing staff in 82 hospitals, the average adjusted total compliance fell by 5 PPs from 76% to 71%. The adjusted rate for the two largest hospital sizes (> 400 beds and 301-400 beds) fell 4 PPs to 71%," the report said.
Mary-Louise McLaws, a professor of epidemiology in healthcare infection and infectious diseases control at the University of NSW said the results were disturbing. "I think part of the problem is this is a result of our focus on 'Key Performance Indicators' instead of assisting the health workers with behavior change," she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The study details appear in the Medical Journal of Australia.